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Opening Arguments

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Maybe the Final Frontier just got a little closer:

 Interplanetary travel could be a step closer after scientists confirmed that an electromagnetic propulsion drive, which is fast enough to get to the Moon in four hours, actually works.

The EM Drive was developed by the British inventor Roger Shawyer nearly 15 years ago but was ridiculed at the time as being scientifically impossible.

It produces thrust by using solar power to generate multiple microwaves that move back and forth in an enclosed chamber. This means that until something fails or wears down, theoretically the engine could keep running forever without the need for rocket fuel.

[. . .]

The drive is capable of producing thrust several thousand times greater than even a photon rocket and could get to Mars within 70 days or Pluto within 18 months. A trip to Alpha Centauri, which would take tens of thousands of years to reach right now, could be reached in just 100 years.

The story is loaded with caveats -- scientists don't know how it works, full testing is still required, etc., etc. -- but, still, holy crap! Just one more reminder of how foolish it is to say these days that something is impossible  (or that some problem is beyond the reach of human ingenuity). If NASA were still in the space business instead on the climate change tent revival circuit, this is the kind of news that would renew our push for exploration.