A reactionless engine is an engine with no exhaust that somehow produces thrust. It seems like it should violate physics, but China says it's tested one.
If there's one thing that science fiction is nearly universal on, it's that traveling at the speed of light looks freakin' awesome. The reality may not be nearly as cool.
Hear that, Star Trek? Technology is catching up! The University of Alabama's Aerophysics Research Center, NASA, Boeing, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are all getting together to develop an "impulse engine" that's powered in part by "dilithium crystals."
How do you make a 747 go faster? Simple: just stick another engine on it and add a button that says "turbo" in big red letters. YEEEAAAHHH!!!
Piston engines are big, heavy, dirty, complicated, and expensive pieces of machinery that have been around for a century. It's about time for something better, and one option could be wave disk engines, which are small, light, clean, simple, and cheap pieces of machinery that aren't around yet. But they're close.
Exciting news is coming out of the world of propulsion. In a talk this week in Denver, Michael Patterson, the principal investigator on NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (or NEXT) program, said that the next generation ion engine could go into...