NASA Technical Report… Eagleworks Laboratories: Advanced Propulsion Physics Research
Harold White, Paul March, Nehemiah Williams and William O’Neill form the Advanced Propulsion “Eagleworks” which is exploring edge-fo-science concepts, like the Quantum Plasma Thrusters (Q-Thrusters) and Warp-Drives. Very much a neglected field of “just barely what we know” applications of advanced physics to NASA’s mission. The Q-Thruster performance really caught my eye – they’re talking a 1 year manned-mission to Neptune. To put that in perspective, Neptune is 4.5 billion kilometres away or about 60 times further away than Mars. Travelling there in 1 year needs ~0.02 m/s2 acceleration all the way and a top speed of ~570 km/s. The incredible thing, to me, is that such research isn’t trumpeted from the roof-tops, but half the time I suspect we’ve become wary of disappointment. “Breakthrough” physics doesn’t always turn out the way we expect it to.