[video] Can a thruster power rocket without propellant?

A former NASA engineer claims he’s invented one.

A space startup called Exodus Propulsion Technologies claims to have discovered an entirely new force of nature that powers thrusters without the need of propellant. 

The firm’s co-founder Charles Buhler is a former engineer at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) who was involved in several major programs including the DUST, the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Space Shuttle.

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In a video conference with industry experts and physicists from the Alternative Propulsion club, in December 2023, he asked them to scrutinize and validate his theoretical presentation “The Discovery of Propellantless Propulsion: The Direct Conversion of Electrical Energy into Physical Thrust” regarding the innovation, and to help find investors and supporters for the wildest engine-to-be for space exploration. 

“This discovery of a New Force is fundamental in that electric fields alone can generate a sustainable force onto an object and allow center-of-mass translation of said object without expelling mass,” Buhler said in an interview.

Buhler explained that there are rules that include conservation of energy, but “if done correctly, we can generate forces unlike anything humankind has done before, using those forces to propel objects for the next 1,000 years...

until the next thing comes." 

According to the NASA veteran, the device his team has designed uses electrostatics to generate a fundamentally new force, which produces a mere 10 milliNewtons. Holding a 100-gram apple in the palm, for example, exerts 1 Newton.

While this isn’t really much, Buhler says the magnitude is not important, because anything above zero would work in space. Over time, the magnitude, too, can be enhanced.

"Our materials are composed of many types of charge carrier coatings that have to be supported on a dielectric film. Our aim is to make it as lightweight as possible, but that is sometimes difficult since the films and their coatings have to have a high dielectric breakdown strength," the physicist stated for The Debrief

The device seems to be at odds with the established laws of physics but the engineer turned entrepreneur insists that he can do some demo in space in the near future.

"There’s some underlying physics that can essentially place force on an object, given an asymmetry in either electrostatic pressure or some kind of electrostatic divergent field," Buhler stressed.

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After more than a decade of work on the propellantless propulsion drive, it has produced enough thrust to counteract Earth’s gravity and the Buhler team expects now to attract funding and specialists willing to help develop the “anti-gravity engine of the future.”

Buhler registered a patent for his invention in 2020 and was able to complete the measurements in close to space conditions last year only.

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