The world’s first silent, engineless aircraft takes flight at MIT

The world’s first silent, engineless aircraft takes flight at MIT

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF This new type of engine, an ion engine, could one day be a useful propulsion system for drones and small aircraft but a lot of work remains to be done.   Since the first airplane took flight over 100 years ago, virtually every aircraft in...

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European Space Agency’s new Ion thruster runs on thin air

European Space Agency’s new Ion thruster runs on thin air

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF When satellites and rockets burn all their fuel they inevitably fall back to Earth and crash, but what if they didn’t need to carry fuel in the first place? That would change the economics of space flight…   While ion thrusters are a promising propulsion...

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NASA’s new ion thruster smashes all the records

NASA’s new ion thruster smashes all the records

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Chemical rockets are big, bulky and expensive, and once they run out of fuel they’re useless, Ion thrusters operate without fuel and could help propel humanity beyond our solar system.   A thruster that’s being developed for a future NASA mission to Mars broke several records during...

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