NASA's next generation of space propulsion, the ion engine, which shoots ionized molecules for thrust, ran for a whopping 43,000 hours, "the equivalent of nearly five years of continuous operation," all while using less than a ton of fuel.
[...] the amount of thrust is tiny -- about the equivalent of the weight of a coin resting on a table. Where the ion thruster has it over chemical rockets is, firstly, in terms of efficiency -- ion thrusters are 10 to 12 times as fuel efficient as chemical rockets. Secondly, an ion thruster can run for a much longer period of time. Where chemical rockets burn for minutes, ion thrusters can burn for thousands of hours, which allows that tiny amount of thrust to build up into speeds needed for deep space missions.
The NEXT ion thruster is one of NASA's latest generation of engines. With a power output of seven kilowatts, it's over twice as powerful as the ones used aboard the unmanned Dawn space probe. Yet it is simpler in design, lighter and more efficient, and is also designed for very high endurance.
|Google's Purchase of Nest's Smart Thermostat Could Mean an Even More Intrusive Search Giant in Our Lives|
|"The loss of jobs representing 1 percent of the U.S. workforce will be a devastating blow to the economy."|
|Man From the Future Arrested at the Large Hadron Collider|
|"10 innovations that are radical enough to alter our lives."|
|Reducing the Half Life of Nuclear Waste from 100,000 to a Few Hundred Years|
|Time Lapse of Planet Earth as Seen from the Space Station|
|“A short cut through spacetime allowing for travel over cosmic scale distances in a short period.”|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|“If you fell asleep in 1945 and woke up in 2018 you would not recognize the world around you.”|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|“Reliably bottling up miniature stars, inside complex machines on Earth, demands otherworldly amounts of patience.”|
|Read Advice People Wish They Had at Your Age|
|The Racist, Sexist Tendencies of AI|
|Walking Car Concept|
|Timelapse of a Tesla Model 3 Being Made|
|“How Facebook Gave my Data Away Without Me Knowing.”|