TAG: Ions

It’s Ions To Mars

ionpropulsion

When ion thrusters were first imagined in the 1960’s, they were little more than a pipedream curiosity. Now, NASA has logged over 43,000 continuous hours with their current model of the futuristic propulsion system. This is a new world record, and a sign that NASA is headed in the right direction. Ion propulsion differs from traditional chemical thrusters in that it doesn’t burn fuel. Instead, the thruster’s energy comes from solar panels or a nuclear-powered system. In the case of the NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) ion engine, xenon molecules are ionized and then accelerated electrostatically using a cathode. The molecules… read more