Scientists have unveiled the Holy Grail of Space Travel: A real-life Impulse Drive system able to achieve sub-light velocities using zero fuel propellants. After 30 years of tinkering and fine-tuning, a pair of scientists might finally be close to turning science fiction into science fact.
The MEGA Drive works by making a stack of piezoelectric crystals alternately heavier and lighter by applying electric current to them. Actually, this is not some kind of New Age healing crystals; piezoelectric crystals do expand and contract under the influence of electricity, essentially interacting with what Einstein says are universal inertial fields in the universe, caused by gravity. By making an object heavier one instant and lighter the next, you can create thrust by using the very same Newtonian every-reaction-causes-an-equal-and-opposite-reaction principle used by rocket engines by throwing matter behind them to move forward.
Each Mach Effect drive unit can generate about a hundred millinewtons of force. As currently built, the Mach Effect engines are six-centimeter cubes just over two inches per side. By making them more efficient, Woodward says you'd get more power from each. And, by stacking as many of them as you want on your ship, you can generate enough forward momentum to power your ship.