Tiny space engine to push back against sunshine

Eu­ro­pe­an Space Agen­cy re­search­ers are pre­par­ing to test what they de­scribe as the small­est, yet most pre­cisely con­trol­la­ble en­gine ev­er built for space. It’s de­signed to be sen­si­tive enough to coun­ter­act the force of sun­shine.
Meas­ur­ing 10 cen­time­tres (4 inches) across and mak­ing a faint blue glow as it runs, the Field Emis­si­on Elec­tric Pro­pul­si­on, or FEEP, en­gine pro­duces an av­er­age thrust equiv­a­lent to the force of one fall­ing hair. But its thrust range and con­trol­la­bil­ity are far su­pe­ri­or to more pot­ent thrusters, hold­ing the key to fu­ture suc­cess of an am­bi­tious mis­si­on of the agen­cy, re­search­ers de­clare.

Full story on WorldScience



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