Saturday, August 2, 2014
It's an engine that converts electrical energy into thrust. And, according to this article over at Sploid, that electrical energy can be generated with solar power. That means this engine doesn't need fuel. There's nothing that it needs to burn. That means that absent some mechanical breakdown, this engine could run forever. The idea wasn't NASA's. Credit for that goes to a team at Satellite Propulsion Research Ltd. Scientists at NASA built the second independent working model.
I don't know that I will ever come close to understanding the science behind the engine, I just know that the people who do understand it all can come up with some cool stuff.