An Innovative Plasma Engine

The progress in the field of space exploration is inexorable and continues to bring more discoveries. Thus, in the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, a part of the US Department of Energy, a scientist Fatima Ebrahimi presented a new development in the form of an innovative thruster. In order for a spacecraft to move, the thruster makes use of a magnetic field, due to which plasma particles are set in motion in the aft part of the vehicle.

Plasma is a gas that has an electric charge and belongs to the fourth state of matter. Thanks to the magnetic reconnection, the molecules are accelerated, and the engine works. Due to this phenomenon in a moving electrically conducting fluid, a system that includes the magnetic field lines changes rapidly. And as the result of the magnetic field’s annihilation, the conducting fluid in the system’s center becomes very hot during the reconnection process.