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"19-year-old Egyptian physics student Aisha Mustafa is someone we may see again in the media in the future because though young she's patented a new type of propulsion system for spacecraft that makes use of an obscure, and only recently experimentally proven, quantum physics effect."

http://goo.gl/r1dac
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115 comments
 
Can you explain how this is not zero-point-energy/perpetual motion/free energy?

I'm shocked this hasn't been picked up by conspiracy websites yet.
 
There is one person that I am really interested knowing the opinion of regarding this suggested propulsion mechanism.. +Isaac Kuo
 
That is so very very cool! I hope I get to see real space travel in my lifetime. Stories like this make me think that someday soon we can begin to explore space in new ways.
 
The real innovation is needed in launching tonnes heavy payload from Earth's surface to Space. There's still no competent practical alternative to jet propulsion yet.
 
Can someone send a link to the paper itself? All I see is a basic interferometer, I'm not making the connection with the the "propulsion" generated.
 
U can not solve a problem wit the same mind that created it.
 
I love cool science... Especially when you know the person doing it is in it for the love of it like a 19 year old
 
Can anyone add me to ur circle
I'm still trying to get the hang of google +
 
Good for her. But I thought stuff like this already existed.

-I would have loved an educational system that supported their students like this when I was in school.
 
This doesn't explain how she made use of it. What is patent?
 
It's not like it's rocket science....errrr.....I guess it is.
 
I wish i was clever enough and sharp enough to be good at science on this level! Truly an exceptional idea and one that will hopefully (probably in decades) power future space probes.
 
Yes, but where is she ranked on the new D3 ladder?!!
 
Why is it that every article that involves quantum mechanics make the vacuum's quantum fluctuations seem like such a weird thing?
It's not really that weird. 
 
+Jim Wilbourne
it's weird because so many simply assume that space is constant just like they assume the speed of light is a fixed value with nothing being faster. They really don't know and the equations make more sense to assume they are fixed. But when you grow up, and admit the universe isn't flat, and infinity values are unrealistic then suddenly new things start popping up.

Children question adults. Children poke holes in the assumptions and so called facts established by adults. The biggest things children do is to ask, Why Not? Where an adult is too buisy saying prove it to answer the question.
 
In a few decades we could see a efficient propulsion system. If it was patented, it will be developed... surely.
 
+Joshua Sims The claim is that it uses the dynamical Casimir effect, so the work comes from (rapidly) changing the length of the cavity. You would still need a power source, but wouldn't need to cart around stuff to throw out the back, as with a conventional rocket.
 
Given the image is an old image of the DS1 ion engine being fired by NASA during a test several years ago before Dawn launched (vaguely credited in the body of the article), it seems that the Fast Company article may not be the whole story.
 
Well. The speed of light actuallu makes sense as a speed limit. (Unless a particle can avoid traveling through space and travel around it instead.)
Matt V
 
So cool but I believe the engine in the picture is an ion propulsion drive. 
 
Space Travel made easier

Friends of World Space League
 
this is amazing she wrote her own ticket at 19 very gifted young lady
 
Interesting but there have been physicists talking about the Casimir effect for power generation for some time. Doctor Travis S Taylor wrote a science fiction novel called Warp Speed that had the protagonist using nano Casimir effect machines to generate power for a warp engine. I wish we could get some more details on this as it would be interesting to see if she has a practical design for a working physical device to generate power. Hopefully she'll publish in some of the science journals so we can get more information.
 
+Ed Stapleton If the Egyptian patent system is anything like the US system, to be granted a patent, she must disclose in the public record sufficient information so that anyone "skilled in the art" could reproduce her invention.
 
This article is like a hug from Carl Sagan and Arthur C. Clarke
 
Richard Branson and Elon Musk would like this.
 
I wonder what would happen if I jumped in the light thingy.......
 
The article mentions funding concerns in Egypt. Hey, Richard Branson, you need to connect with this young lady! (Branson has always reminded me of "The Man Who Sold the Moon".)

Here's a chance to power his planned ships and truly become Virgin Galactic.
 
That depends, are you a watchmaker’s son? If so then I think you will become a being hardly distinguishable from God.
 
Schrodingers cat is an epic experiment to this day!
 
Actually andrew my father did make and repair watches back in the seventies/early eighties
 
+Ciro Villa To me it sounds like complete bunk. It sounds like yet another pseudo-science claim of a reactionless propulsion system. Nothing new to see here.
 
Ok for everyone who wants to understand this article, please read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casimir_effect , and then read my layman's terms explanation of it below.

The Casimir effect experiment was used to prove that there are particles that pop in and out of existence continuously even in what we usually consider to be "empty space". (by "things" i mean quantum particles, too much to explain here, just go with it) The idea was that if things are popping into existence, then some would be bigger than others and if we brought two metal plates close enough, the "larger" things would no longer be able to pop into existence between them, but the smaller ones still could. By doing this, it meant the "larger" things would "exist" in higher numbers on the outside of the plates and thus exert a "push" onto the plates pushing them even closer to each other. This effect was measured and even though it's a tiny push it is very much real, so it was proven that particles do pop in and out of existence really fast in any "space".

Now, this kid's patent has to do with harnessing that "push" force for space vehicles. The article makes it sound like an amazing discovery, but I don't see it being applied to any satellites any time soon considering how minimal the push is. He'd have to find a way to tremendously increase the push's overall force to make it useful.

Note: This is not "free" or "perpetual" energy coming out of nowhere, as the energy is always there pushing on everything at once. The patent seems to be the ability to focus it in a certain direction in order to use it for propulsion, but again, it's such a small meager amount that we can barely measure, so that again makes me think this patent won't be too useful on large machines.

I hope that made sense.
 
Sorry for this long post, just intrigued with this. So this drive creates propulsion from the two silicon shifting plates, by capturing the particles popping in and out of space, multiplying those particles to create energy? I'm not any good at science, but is this in some way the same as how the atomic bomb works, rapid multiplication? If it does create energy, could it be transferred and stored to a battery system? If so, would it be efficient as a array on a cylindrical shaped ship, rotating to capture the particles as well to push the ship on its path? Also how would this be affected by the environment in space? I've read about mechanical parts being welded together from the vacuum in space, cold welding. Will this system be able to be used in the current asteroid mining endeavours?
 
I haven't seen her paper published in larger scientific circles yet, so hopefully the link +Ciro Villa has posted here will fill in some of the details.
 
Green spacecraft propulsion. Who knew? 
 
@Elizabeth Reed According to Richard Branson, the possibility of commercial space flights will be available through Virgin Galactic in the next two years. Of course those flights will only be available to those who can spend $200,000 per trip.
 
Upon reading the article, it did not explain any methodology. The references provided did not as well, in fact many of the references were theory based papers with no experimental proof. I'm guessing I need to wait to see something published somewhere.
 
This could be the technology we need to push us beyond the brink of our solar system and evolve humanity into a truly space fairing people.
 
Dotcom and Facebook do quantum physics?
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+Tiaan Basson , no they do not multiply the particles, the particles pop right back out of existence, but during the tiny period they exist they create an imbalance in the number of particles between the plates and outside of the plates, just like having gas in a balloon pushing outwards, these particles push the plates together, that "kinetic" force, if harvested could then be used for propulsion. Setup a thousand tiny plates, and focus each tiny bit of force in the same direction and that effectively "multiplies" that force into enough power to move something, like a space ship since in space we require very little force to move just about anything.
 
So glad Egypt has the tools and education to allow young geniuses to develop. How many are still being aborted without detection in impoverished and developing countries?
 
Everyone is getting excited. It is an awesome concept, but it is still just a concept. She has yet to have one built and once it is, it is meant for satellites and probes, not manned spacecraft. I'm sure though a larger scale, more powerful drive could be made and I'm sure Aisha Mustafa will be the one to do so.
 
Proud to see an Egyptian invents new things like this. After all she is 19 :) way to goo Aesha :) keep going on what you are doing now. By your knowledge you can fix Egypt :) and make Egypt better place like before :)
 
really cool! couldn't they apply the same method in small scale for planes and cars? i mean running on heat! wouldn't that be something....
 
Disclaimer: I am not a physicists, merely an interested layman.

Ok, when I saw this at first I didn't understand it at all. Using the traditional casimir effect you cannot produce energy. Nor could you use it to produce a force. Since the casimir effect involves two conducting plates that push towards each other their net kinetic energy cancels out.

But the (not very informative) articles do mention something important: this proposal (whatever it is) is based on the (just recently confirmed) idea of a 'dynamic casimir effect'. I hadn't heard about that before so googled around a lot (especially using Google Scholar) and now suddenly it makes sense. It's, I dare say, almost obvious.

Here's a news article on the recent observation of this effect:

http://phys.org/news/2011-11-scientists-vacuum.html

To quote a key passage:

"What happens during the experiment is that the “mirror” transfers some of its kinetic energy to virtual photons, which helps them to materialise."

So your not getting energy from nothing. You have to impart energy to the [virtual] mirror, and that energy gets transfered to the virtual photons making them real photons.

So how do you turn that into a method of propulsion? Easy. Just throw the photos outside the rear of your spacecraft.

How practical this would be would depend on a) how large you could scale up this dynamic casimir effect apparatus and b) how efficient the energy transfer in the effect is. In any case you still have to carry around a power source for the apparatus. I'm not sure this would really be any better than an ion drive.
 
+Ramsez Stamper Thank you for your reply, does make sense. This system might be useful with a ship design like Michio Kaku's Physics of the Impossible series.
 
+K.B. Burnfield , pretty much all scientists are in it for the love of it. Even the more highly paid ones could make more money doing less if all they were interested in was their own finances. Hell, most tech companies give their scientists their own time to conduct their own personal research. Why? Because this is more important to most scientists than a pay rise.
 
The people investing in scientists, well that's a different matter
 
what the hell i'm doing with my life!
 
Let's pray she doesn't go "missing" like the guy in the U.S. that developed the engine that could travel 200 miles on a gallon of gasoline in the 60's. Perhaps she's protected. America has a nasty habit of eating her young.
 
i hope to travel with a spacecraft powered by her engine as soon as possible :)
 
Responding to those who wish to see this in a full size space craft... The theory of this engine keeps it very small. However that is not to say that the theory could not be applied to new designs using other fuels. Her idea makes it so that fuel isn't needed but perhaps the technology could help us make better use of fuel we have. There are certainly places in the stars where there will not be enough light to fuel the batteries to charge the engine. We will need other sources.

Until then, this technology helps us make better cleaner, more effective probes and satellites.

However for human space travel we will need engines that do far more than press space at one point. We need engines that can bend it. Only then will we have the power needed to visit the stars.
 
We I love studying about space
 
I mean wow I love studying about space
 
It's dead sure that this would open a new door to far far galaxies for mankind.
 
Amazing skill that we see in 21 first century &further in future with new invention good
 
Great Aisha, it's really wonderful & amazing. Go on, ALLAH will help & protect U. I'm really proud of U...
 
Lamento não ter prosseguido nos meus estudos de inglês...O professor não nos ouviu...Ele teria de mandar um aluno para outro nível e dar atenção ao nosso que estava adiantado.Hoje penso em voltar!E agora,como vou traduzir o que está diante de mim?Alguém me ajuda?Gratias!
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supper thinking.............
great..........
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