NASA’s asteroid-slamming mission will take a look at new ion drive system


NASA’s mission DART will take a look at our means to redirect an asteroid by fairly actually crashing into it — however the spacecraft will even take a look at a brand new sort of propulsion system for the company.

NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster-Commercial (NEXT-C) is an ion drive. Rather than igniting hydrogen-based propellant as most rockets do, NEXT-C will use the electrical energy generated by the spacecraft’s personal solar panels to create {an electrical} discipline that accelerates charged xenon ions as much as very excessive speeds with a view to propel the craft. Ion drives can, in concept, attain a lot greater speeds than standard rockets. NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and the corporate Aerojet Rocketdyne teamed as much as construct the NEXT-C system, and a mission referred to as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) shall be its testbed.

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