No engine, no propeller or reactor, theis a which has an electro-aerodynamic propulsion. The prototype of the aircraft is part of a project emanating from researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and which is supported by the as part of its program Nasa Innovative Advanced Concepts. The device moves and flies thanks to small fins which are as many at . Contact from they come to ionize the d’ which accelerates them and propels the aircraft forward.
This is called a. This is nothing new, because the first prototypes of this type of propulsion system date back to the 1950s. The thrust delivered being quite low, this type of engine is well suited to the space sector, because it does not require the carrying of fuel and that the source of can come from solar panels.
This drone is the first aircraft to have an ion engine. © Real Engineering
A silent drone
At the moment, the device is small in size. It has only been used indoors and at a low height. In the future, and if its development continues, theDrive could make it possible to carry out packages in silence, unlike relatively noisy motorized drones.
If NASA is interested in this technology, it is because it could well be used elsewhere than on Earth. Such a system, without partsdoes not wear out and it is a real asset for carrying out an exploration mission on a distant planet, as does the on Mars. This NASA-funded project still has nine months to mature.