Fine Structure

Ion Engines are the Future

The future of space travel is missing a critical piece of science fiction: the dull blue glow of a futuristic engine propelling a starship through the abyss.

Well, not anymore. VASIMR, an experimental ion engine from Ad Astra, is currently in testing and it gives off the most beautiful blue glow! Here's a video of the engine being run for a short period.

Ion engines are special because they're designed for the gravitational conditions of outer space - they produce a slow and steady stream of propulsion. Chemical rockets, on the other hand, are designed to give everything they've got to escape the gravity of the Earth. I'm glad the future is almost here.

http://www.universetoday.com/2009/10/06/trips-to-mars-in-39-days/ ]

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