Penny-Sized Ion Thrusters Could Steer the Satellites Of the Future

Rockets might be fiery fun, but they're big, bulky, and heavy. Ion thrusters, sci-fi as they sound, are real and these penny-sized ones are probably the future of steering small satellites in orbit. » 8/18/12 6:00pm 8/18/12 6:00pm

Australia Is Building a Pee-Powered Ion Thruster

Our current level of technological prowess is severely hindering efforts to explore the solar system. Nine months to get to Mars—who's got that kind of time? If a new breed of ion thruster currently under development at the Australian National University is successful, we'll get to the Red Planet in a third of the… » 6/13/12 1:20pm 6/13/12 1:20pm

Space Tugboats Are Exactly What They Sound Like

Modern spacecraft use a majority of their fuel supplies just to break away from the Earth's gravity and actually get into space. But a new NASA proposal hopes to cut that fuel requirement in half by employing solar-powered, ion-thrusting "Space Tugs" to ferry ships and satellites into Geosynchronous orbit. » 3/08/12 11:30am 3/08/12 11:30am