July 13, 2020


Connecting People

Plasma Jets May One Day Propel Aircraft

Jet planes may well one particular day fly without fossil fuels by using plasma jets, new research from experts in China suggests.

A range of spacecraft, such as NASA’s Dawn area probe, crank out plasma from gases such as xenon for propulsion. However, such thrusters exert only very small propulsive forces, and so can discover use only in outer area, in the absence of air friction.

Now scientists have produced a prototype thruster capable of creating plasma jets with propulsive forces comparable to these from traditional jet engines, using only air and electrical power.