The gist of EmDrive is that it's an engine that appears to gain intense amounts of propulsion via ambient microwave energy. Supposedly, this could make for spaceships that can gain speed without propellant in the vacuum of space. If it's true, then this technology would be a revolution in space-a way to drastically cut down on the mass of spaceships and keep them going by producing continuous thrust, bringing long voyages closer to reality.
In reality, of course, the EmDrive has always been dubious at best. A tenuous connection to NASA has made the idea sound more plausible, but it isn't. People get starry eyed at the idea of a low-power microwave drive that could propel humanity to the stars and forget the cardinal rule of technology: that if something seems to violate the law of physics, then there's probably something wrong with the analysis, not the physics.
Now, the International Business Times (no stranger to hyperbole and claims NASA is covering up UFOs) claims that the EmDrive is under peer review as we speak. IBT pulls this news from the NASA Spaceflight forum, where one member of the EmDrive team, Paul March, also says that the claims that Eagleworks (an experimental lab at Johnson Space Center) is dead are quite exaggerated.
Eagleworks' entire purpose is to investigate far-out propulsion claims, so it's not a surprise that the EmDrive falls under this aegis. March described the peer review process (where others in the field try to replicate the results before official publication) as "glacially slow." It also may take a long time because EmDrive is unlikely to pass peer review, or at least generate the thrust its inventor, Roger Shawyer, claims it can, since that would upend the laws of the conservation of energy and momentum.
The next few months could bring an end to this silly episode in hyperbolic research. Of course, there's the small-fraction-of-a-chance that it could survive the peer review process, at which point it maybe, just maybe, EmDrive technology has a ghost of a chance of being a reality. At the very least, get the popcorn ready. This is likely to get ugly, or really weird.