China's Shenzhou 7 spacecraft, carrying a 3-man crew, lifted off on September 25th and is now orbiting the earth on a 3-day mission. Chinese astronauts, called taikonauts, will launch a small satellite and do a space walk. Next stop? the moon?
The Chinese may be using "Emdrive" ("electromagnetic drive"), which could open up new ways to explore space. Invented by UK scientist Roger Shawyer, this device converts electrical energy into thrust using microwaves. Critics say this is just another version of the impossible: a perpetual motion machine. In Wired.com, David Hambling quotes Australian physicist John Costella as saying, "It is well known that Roger Shawyer's 'electromagnetic relativity drive' violates the law of conservation of momentum, making it simply the latest in a long line of 'perpetuum mobiles' that have been proposed and disproved for centuries?His analysis is rubbish and his 'drive' impossible."
But Chinese scientists say the drive works and the theory behind it is correct. They seem to have perfected fusion energy, so they may have gotten the Emdrive working too. If it DOES work, it will give them the advantage in space travel, leaving NASA behind. Hamling quotes Shawyer as saying, "The flight thruster program is on hold for the present. Once the UK. government had provided an export license for a US military application, the major US aerospace company we had been dealing with stopped talking to us."
Meanwhile, an unknown object in space that flared intensively, then faded again over a period of about 7 months, is unlike anything astronomers have ever seen before. NASA thinks it was probably the explosion of a massive star. BBC News quotes NASA's Neil Gehrels as saying, "It's coming to us from near the edge of the visible Universe."
Is anyone out there worried about the Chinese conquering space? The mysterious object flared up and burned brightly, then faded away?hey, that could be US if we don't get more support soon!
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