Han Solo once told Luke Skywalker, "Traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations, we could fly right through a star, or bounce too close to a supernova and that'd end your trip real quick, wouldn't it?"
Sorry, I'm having "Star Wars" flashbacks. That's because there is a new piece of technology right out of the classic trilogy that is supposedly ready to be implemented.
Leaked documents that were found not long ago claim that NASA has successfully built a working "warp drive." This would make interstellar travel a reality like you see in science fiction shows. Prepare for light speed, Chewie.
What we're talking about is a technology invented by Roger Shawyer. It's called an EM Drive propulsion system. You can see what it looks like in the picture below.
What's new is, China is claiming to have created a working prototype of this technology. Chinese scientists told the "IBTimes UK" that the propulsion system is being tested on the Tiangong-2 space laboratory.
Chinese scientists also claim that NASA's reported results on this propulsion system only confirmed what they had already accomplished. And, they are planning on using the technology "as quickly as possible" in satellites.
How EM Drive works
The revolutionary aspect of this new propulsion system is that it does not use an exhaust system. This technology had been considered impossible because it would violate the laws of physics.
Spaceships currently are pushed in the right direction by generating thrusts. The EM Drive works by harnessing particles of light and bouncing microwaves that are in an enclosed chamber to generate thrust, which pushes the engine forward. It only uses solar power.
NASA said, "Thrust data from forward, reverse, and null suggests that the system is consistently performing with a thrust to power ratio of 1.2 ± 0.1 millinewtons per kilowatt."
With this technology, NASA says a trip to the moon would only take four hours. Humans could also reach Mars in around 10 weeks. NASA's leaked documents claim that this new propulsion system is "consistently performing."
Skeptics aren't buying into this technology. They don't believe it could work in space because nothing is generated to push against it. This would break Newton's third law of motion, which is "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."
The Chinese space agency recently held a press conference to confirm its success with this propulsion system. It said the Chinese government has been funding this project since 2010. It sounds like they have a little more work before it's fully functional, but it could soon be a reality.
Just imagine if this technology actually becomes a reality. You could take a day-trip to the moon. How exciting!