NASA’s new cutting-edge propulsion thruster system is solar-electric—though they aren’t as powerful as traditional chemical rockets, ion thrusters are far more efficient. This is ideal for space missions and may even be used to capture small near-Earth asteroids on NASA’s Asteroid Retrieval Initiative.
The engine is blue, glowing of xenon gas. This kind of technology is often mentioned in science fiction novels—it is also one of the most efficient methods of traveling through space. It cuts fuel and electrical power usage, which allows modern spacecraft to travel farther and faster at a lower cost.
This breakthrough invention is currently being tested at a vacuum chamber at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.