Physics follows a carefully constructed schema of rules that separate 'science' from 'science fiction.' However, NASA has just greenlighted a project that seems to break one of those rules, the rule that every action must have an equal and opposite reaction.

The "Cannae Drive" engine seems to break the rule, allowing its rockets to move with less initial energy. It operates by using electricity to generate microwaves, which then move in a container, creating a difference in radiation pressure and generating the thrust. This drive recreates and seems to confirm a design created four years ago by British scientist Roger Shawyer.

Guido Fetta, the engineer who designed the rocket, was able to create 30 and 50 micronewtons of thrust. That is a tiny amount, but if the findings are correct, it could have major implications for physicists. The engine was tested by NASA scientists, who have confirmed his findings.

There are two possibilities: either that the test results were wrong and the findings were off, or that one of the major laws of physics is wrong, and needs to be re-thought. If this is true and physicists are actually able to create energy, that could be a great boon for space travel, as one of the major problems is the cost required for the fuel to propel rockets into space.

NASA released a statement, but they did not comment much about what the findings could mean. They just reported that the event had happened.

"Test results indicate that the RF resonant cavity thruster design, which is unique as an electric propulsion device, is producing a force that is not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon and therefore is potentially demonstrating an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma. Future test plans include independent verification and validation at other test facilities," NASA said in a statement.

Another scientist, Roger Shawyer, claims to have discovered the same effect years ago and used it in his EmDrive engine. On the website, he calls it "A New Concept in Spacecraft Propulsion." The first successful test of the EmDrive was completed in 2010, four years ago. However, scientists have told him that his engine design is impossible, because of the law of conservation. Shawyer's work was replicated by a team of Chinese engineers, who successfully created an EmDrive. The Chinese work did not get that much attention worldwide.

However, now that a scientist working at NASA has replicated the results, that gives an undeniable credence to Shawyer's findings. There is still a chance that the NASA team made a mistake somewhere, but it seems like time to give serious consideration to the EmDrive and the idea that physics as we know it may be due for an overhaul.

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