Scientists from the European space Agency (ESA) has created a miniature ion thruster, capable of maintaining a satellite in earth orbit.

The role of fuel in it it has a liquid metal on a tiny tungsten crown with a diameter of 1 cm, consisting of 28 needle. Her “motor” ability due to the fact that it generates an electrical field, throwing out in space the positive charges forming the cravings.

Performance corresponds to the size of the chips-engine – only-from 10 to 400 micronewtons, but even its adequate for maneuvering satellites in earth orbit.

His “brother” – European-Japanese ion engine, specially developed for space satellites, BepiColombo, by contrast, is a world champion ion engines. Its capacity is 290 000 micronewtons.

Source — The European Space Agency