Did China just invent the Millennium Falcon?
You never see Han Solo stopping by the gas pump. Which is weird: all spaceships need fuel to move forward, physics says.
But, wait: hold on to you tinfoil hats. In China, they might just have built the engine for the Millennium Falcon.
It's called the "Impossible Engine," and it's such a crazy story you'll think you're high. You may actually be high, but that doesn't matter.
The "Impossible Engine" violates the Third Law of Motion and is therefore probably bullshit. It's a space engine that supposedly doesn't need any fuel to move forward. Its existence was theorized 20 years ago by a guy named Roger Shawyer. It operates by bouncing microwaves around in a cone. NASA scientists published a peer-reviewed paper saying that this creates propulsion, even though no fuel is ejected out the back, and no energy is expended. Every other engine we know burns fuel: cars and airplanes burn gas, nuclear reactors use up uranium, NASA spaceships shoot out beams of charged atoms, and even your muscles burn glucose. Yet, somehow, NASA made a test model of the "Impossible Engine" and said it works.
Today, China says it made a real-live full-size one, and is testing it in space on satellites "imminently." It would mean spaceships that can fly forever.
So how could all this work? (Again, it probably can't: laws of physics aren't like seatbelt laws. When things sound too crazy to be true, they usually are, like when scientists wrongly suggested they'd found neutrinos that go faster than light.)
One possibility is that a force field exists we can't currently feel, and it pushes against that. (It's the fucking Force! Damn, they should play New Hope during science class!) NASA scientists called this the "quantum vacuum plasma thruster," which, even if it turns out not to be real, would be an excellent name for a new video game.
So ... is the impossible possible? Ask NASA scientists, Chinese spaceship builders, and Kevin Garnet. Anything ... is ... possible!
Acutally, not everything is possible. But Shawyer claims his Impossible Drive is, and will give us flying cars and access to all the planets and we could be to Mars a lot faster than we thought. And, of course: next stop, Forest Moon of Endor. Princess Leia is banging hot.