Over time, a quite large number of people have thought of or even attempted to design engines that run without any fuel. It might sound somewhat insane and too good to be true, but now, a NASA engineer has suggested that this may soon be a reality.
David Burns, an engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, located in Hunstville, Alabama, has revealed his concept that he calls the ‘helical engine.’ The invention can be visualized by imagining a ring inside a box placed on a frictionless surface. The ring is backed by a rod parallel to the floor, with a spring on one end.
As the spring presses the ring forward, the box will rotate in the opposite direction, as depicted in Newton’s third law of motion. The law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If so, the box is limited to a sheer back-and-forth movement, following the third law.
A Futuristic Fuel-less Engine
However, Burns suggests that if the ring’s mass should increase before it touches the box, then there would be a net forward momentum that springs the box forward. When this particular action is repeated, the box would be capable of moving from a point to another, entirely depending on the momentum that the ring’s adjusting mass elicits.
This might sound rather insane and utopic, but the change in mass does not break any physical laws.
Burns is not the first one to suggest the creation of a fuel-less engine. In the early 2000s, Roger Shawyer proposed the EM engine, which he said was able to convert microwaves into mechanical energy for moving forward. However, the project was not completed because it allegedly violates the Law of Conservation of Momentum, which is one of the fundamental laws of nature.
Martin Tamjar of the Dresden University of Technology commented on this project and said that the helical engine may end up having the same fate as the EM engine. Even Burns admits the engine’s flaws but says that it was worth a shot.