The Association then transposed, in 1992, the concept behind PNN-M to electrodynamics, where the Superposition principle is applicable. The result was the birth, in 2001, of SC23, a new kind of device that actually can violate (yep: the right word is violate) Newton’s third law.
The prototype casts electromagnetic fields which interact to generate a force. By exploiting the interaction between those fields and driven by accurate superposition calculations that can predict and organize the behavior of electromagnetic waves, the reaction force can be set to null or at least heavily reduced (phase opposition maybe?) whilst action force can be boosted. And this is only the first breakthrough!
The second one is that since the magnetic field is independent from the system once emitted, the PNN thruster can create on its own the medium where the modulated E.M waves can “have grip” and thus generate thrust! To make this statement more clear, let’s use this metaphoric example:
Imagine a strange cartoonish creature similar to a fish, that lives in space. This fish has a unique peculiarity: it can create bubbles of water around itself. When a bubble is created, it wags its tail to swim forward. When the fish is near the end of the bubble, it expels another bubble, and so on. This way it can move wherever it wants in space. Obviously you shouldn’t take too seriously this example because the physics doesn’t work that way.. unless we’re talking about E.M fields and Superposition principle!
Those two breakthroughs imply that a PNN-E thruster can work as long as the energy source is active. It doesn’t require to expel mass because since its “reaction” mass is the magnetic field, it virtually doesn’t exists until emitted, therefore the reaction mass is the energy source itself!
The PNN-E is, quoting Emidio Laureti, “the Sacred Grail of propulsion”.
It really is the Holy Grail because the implications in space propulsion are paramount: a ship equipped with PNN-E drive can thrust as long as the energy source is functioning. This means that it can reach speeds that are inconceivable for modern astronautics: theoretically we can even start talking about FTL travels! Moreover as long as the energy source is active the ship can visit different celestial bodies in a single misson, without being bonded to fuel availability, small speeds and the need of gravitational slingshots.
In short, a PNN-E ship becomes a real Caravel of the space, in contrast with the expensive and elaborate one-way projectiles that we send among planets with conventional propulsion.
ASPS is jealous about their know-how (they’re absolutely right, I must say) so the formula to actually produce thrust has never been released. However they stated that the key to PNN lies in the antennas that everyone has on his rooftop. In fact the prototypes work using the antenna dipole.
Figure 1: the operation of an antenna dipole
We’re not given to know how the action force is obtained but I can speculate that a controlled interaction between two or more dipoles is involved.
In fact, in this article(in Italian) Laureti discusses the boosting of PNN-E by organizing hundreds of small dipoles in arrays. These structures can interact and then amplify the magnetic fields and thus strengthen the thrust. Those arrays can be arranged to fit the size of a small tile. If then we could cover the hull of a spaceship with those tiles the ship itself would become a thruster! Oddly enough, Laureti said that PNN-E produces luminous radiation when functioning, so this hypothetical spaceship would shine like some of those Unidentified Flying Objects.. but we’re trespassing in the fantasy realm.
Over the years ASPS has improved their prototype.
According to online publications, its evolution is:
SC23 (2001) – Thrust unknown
ASPS never released pictures of the prototype
SC2.12 (2001) – Thrust: 2 mN
Tds1/P10F02 (2003) – Thrust: 120 mN
P26MR05 (2005) – Thrust: 250 mN
TDS VF2 (2013) – Thrust:1/32g
Edit (11/29/15): ASPS announced a new thruster conceived to compete against EmDrive
Fert242(2015) – Thrust:~600uN , Input power: 150W
Fert242(2016) –Thrust:~1900uN , Input power: 150-250W
Fert242(2016) Improved version –Thrust:~2.56g* , Input power: 180W
*Thrust value is obtained through thrust overlapping phenomenon after 4 minutes of operation. A sustained thrust causes overheating and there is the risk of burning the circuitry. However the prototype lacks of any active/passive heat dissipation system, so there is large margine for improvements.
If SC2.12 was competitive with ion propulsion, TDS VF2 is an another world: according to the released information it has an acceleration of 1/32g and the Association is working to improve this value and reach 1.1g. With this acceleration the prototype can literally take off! When ASPS will achieve this not so far result (I hope), the PNN will be ready to be publically presented.
TDS VF2 is a beast, in this video you can se how it bends the ballistic pendulum when powered:
There is a lot left to say about PNN-E but I don’t want to overload this article: that will be material for further posts.