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Looks like the EM drive is officially dead – experiments fail (youtube.com)
18 points by todd8 9 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 7 comments





This is science working as intended, isn't it? Someone noticed a thing that might be new and interesting, announced it, people looked into it, turns out it doesn't work. It would be worrying if everything people announced turned out to be significant.

There were a whole lot of very smart physicists with no skin in the game who claimed this was theoretically impossible from the beginning.

At this point, lots of layman-reading-time, physicist thinking time and engineering effort was wasted over TWO DECADES to prove this technology is not working.

You can see it as "science working as intended" but also as "embarrassing waste of effort".


Not disproving the current theory is not the only benefit that can happen:

- You have to kick the tyres now and again. Sparingly perhaps, but you have to do it.

- A lot of what people learn is NOT whether this is a new form of propulsion. It's things like "how do we make a really really sensitive propulsion measurement system?" along with with come more mundane things like teaching the grad students how to code.

If we only exercise when we're sure something exciting will happen, we won't exercise.


Still sounds like science. A lot of effort, mostly tedious and mostly not exciting, a lot of work to tie up loose ends.

What's great about the scientific method is that you need to test your hypothesis using a reproducible and peer-reviewable experiment, so even if something fails everyone learn something from it.

No, it's perverse. It's so much easier to come up with nonsense than it is to conclusively prove it as such. Should we invest the valuable time of physics PhDs into investigating every claimed perpetual motion machine on YouTube? No, that would be a waste of time. This was that, writ large.

It was fun while it lasted.



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