APOD: An Ion Drive for Deep Space 1 Feature Summary

From Physics Research
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.
image credit: <a href="http://nmp.jpl.nasa.gov/" target="_blank">New Millennium Program</a>, <a href="http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/" target="_blank">JPL</a>, <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/" target="_blank">NASA</a>; <a href="http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap030720.html" target="_blank">image source</a>; <a href="http://www.compadre.org/Informal/images/features/ion-drive-large-5-7-09.jpg" target="_blank">larger image</a>
image credit: New Millennium Program, JPL, NASA; image source; larger image
Image URL:
May 1, 2009 - May 16, 2009