NASA engineer David Burns developed an idea for an engine that travels at the speed of light, according to him. It has the potential to accelerate to 99 percent of the speed of light — all without the need of any propellant at all. Dr. Burns, of Nasa’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, presented the concept in a paper that was uploaded on the agency’s website and received a lot of attention.
Burns outlines a box with a weight inside it as a thinking experiment to help him convey his idea better. Threaded on a line with a spring at either end, the weight is bouncing back and forth as it is threaded. This would cause the whole box to jiggle in a vacuum – such as that of space – despite the fact that the weight seems to be standing still.
In its most basic form, the engine of light speed operates by taking advantage of the way mass changes while traveling at the speed of light. Using a metaphor of a ring within a box, with springs connected to either end, Dr. Burns offers a framework for breaking down this idea in his article.
The helical engine, also known as the engine of light, circumvents this problem by using high-tech particle accelerators, such as those found in Europe’s Large Hadron Collider. Electromagnets accelerate the firing of tiny particles at high speeds, which are then recycled back around the engine and fired again. According to Dr. Burns, the engine of light could potentially travel at speeds of about 297million metres per second if it took advantage of a gap in the rules of physics that exists.
In a closed loop, the engine of light accelerates ions to relativistic speeds that are modest in comparison to their initial speeds. Then they vary their velocity in order to make small adjustments to their mass. The engine of light speed then accelerates and decelerates ions in the direction of motion in order to generate forward push. “This in-space engine may be utilized for long-term satellite station maintenance without the need for refueling,” says the scientist.
Because Newton’s equations of motion explain how a spring moves in one way, when the ring is sprung in the other, the box moves in the other direction. Every action must be countered by an equal and opposite response. After reaching the end of the box, the ring will bounce backwards, and the box’s recoil direction will change as well, creating a loop.
In general, the box would continue to wiggle in the same location. However, if the mass of the weight were to grow just in one direction, it would result in a larger push in that direction and, as a result, a greater thrust in that direction.
A particle gains mass as it moves toward the speed of light, according to special relativity theory. As a result, if the weight is replaced by ions and the box with a loop, the result is It is theoretically possible to make the ions move more quickly at one end of the loop and less quickly at the other.
The helical chamber would have to be very big in order to accommodate everyone. To be exact, it is about 200 metres (656 feet) long and 12 metres (40 feet) in diameter. A further consideration is that it would need 165 megawatts of energy to create one newton of thrust. An electric power plant would be needed to generate the force necessary to accelerate a kilogram of mass per second squared.
Even if the engine of light speed is successful in reality, it will have a number of drawbacks to contend with. An engine with the speed of light that was 200 meters long would produce approximately as much force as a person typing on a keyboard, according to a report in New Scientist magazine. Consequently, although Burns may be correct in claiming that it could accelerate to near-light speed, it would take a very long period to do it.
The fictional vehicle could transport humans to Mars in less than 13 minutes or to the Moon in less than a second if it traveled at these speeds. When traveling at these speeds, the light would be unable to keep up with you, causing your eyesight to become distorted in strange ways. According to Dr. David Burns, a Nasa engineer, the true aim of the so-called “helical engine” would be to travel to faraway stars much more quickly than any other technology now available on the market.
An innovation that instantly generated a lot of interest. Indeed, if Dr. Burns’ engine for traveling at the speed of light performs as predicted, it will open the door to all forms of space travel. For the time being, even our most advanced spacecraft, even those designed by the brilliant Elon Musk, are falling behind the times. The journey to even the most distant exoplanet may take years, if not centuries. It will be difficult to plan any human conquest of outer space for at least a few decades as a result of this. However, if we could travel at 1 billion kilometers per hour, or about the speed of light, we would be able to reach the sidereal realm.
The idea, which Burns admits he isn’t convinced is feasible, is based on high-tech particle accelerators, which Burns says is an inspiration for him. This is similar to what is observed in the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN particle accelerator. That isn’t the only issue preventing the helical engine from reaching its full potential. Dr. Burns estimated that it would need to be 198 metres long and 12 metres broad in order to function properly. The gadget would also only function properly in the frictionless environment of deep space, as previously stated.
David Burns offers a different suggestion. He wants to do away with the use of propellant and to move beyond the concept of action and response. He doesn’t need it for his conceptualization. After studying the theory of relativity, and in particular the theory of special relativity, he came to the conclusion that things acquire mass as they go closer to the speed of light. Suppose you take a one-kilogram block of stone and push it at a speed of 380,000 kilometers per hour; the stone will weigh many tons.
Traveling at these speeds would make it difficult to keep up with you, causing your eyesight to become warped in strange ways. Everything in your immediate vicinity would seem to be dark, and time would appear to have come to a complete halt, with clocks crawling to a crawl and planets appearing to have stopped spinning.
According to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, while traveling at such speeds, the ring’s mass increases as it reaches the end of the box. If it hits harder towards the end of its box, it will gain forward momentum and move the ball farther down the field. The engine of light will accomplish a similar trick with the help of a particle accelerator and ion particles, but that is the basic idea of it.
The current generation of rockets, such as those developed by Nasa and SpaceX, would need tons of propellants, such as liquid hydrogen, to transport humans to Mars and beyond.
However, any possible answer would likely be years, if not decades, in the making. NASA is now investigating the prospect of utilizing ice and water on the moon’s surface as rocket fuel.