50.0 MB (3.7 MB compressed)
5128 x 3408 pixels
43.4 x 29.0 cm ⏐ 17.1 x 11.4 in (300dpi)
MARK WILLIAMSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK WILLIAMSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Editorial use only.
A spacecraft ion thruster on display at the 2015 Paris Air Show. This type of thruster replaces conventional small chemical rocket thrusters and is used to adjust the position of commercial communications satellites or to boost science spacecraft towards a planet or comet, for example. It works by ionising a propellant such as xenon and accelerating the positive ions to produce thrust. Two neutralisers, which emit electrons to prevent ions being attracted back to the thruster, can be seen at left.
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