image credit: New Millennium Program, JPL, NASA; image source; larger image
Astronomy Picture of the Day: Ion Drive for Deep Space 1
This Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a laboratory test of the ion drive engine that propelled the probe Deep Space 1 to the outer reaches of the solar system.
-- The little solar-powered engine, only about 40 cm on a side, ionized xenon atoms and expelled them at about 100,000 km/s, exerting a small reaction force on the spacecraft over a long period of time.
-- The engine's thrust was small, as was the corresponding acceleration, but since the engine ran for weeks at a time, the final speed was substantial. To find out more about this probe and its unusual engine, visit Astronomy Picture of the Day: Ion Drive for Deep Space 1 and Deep Space 1.
Impulse of Force
To learn more about impulse, visit the Hyperphysics page Impulse of Force.