NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Deep Space 1. Artwork of the proposed Deep Space 1 spacecraft during a rendezvous with a comet. The spacecraft's 30-centimetre diameter engine uses a beam of charged particles (ions, purple) to propel it. The xenon fuel is charged using 2000 watts of electricity generated by the solar panels & is accelerated by an electric field to 113,000 kilometres per hour (km/h). The engine accelerates the spacecraft slowly but steadily until it reaches a speed of 35,000 km/h. The engine is highly efficient, & will need just 45 kilogrammes of fuel during its mission. Deep Space 1 is due to be launched in October 1998, & will visit a near- Earth asteroid and Mars as well as a comet.
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