Scientists from the European Space Agency (ESA) have created a miniature ion engine capable of supporting a satellite in low Earth orbit.
The role of fuel in it is assigned to liquid metal on a tiny tungsten crown 1 cm in diameter, consisting of 28 needles. Its "motor" ability is due to the fact that it generates an electric field, throwing into space positive charges that form thrust.
The performance corresponds to the size of a crumb-engine - only 10 to 400 micronewtons, but even it is enough for maneuvering satellites in low-Earth orbit.
Its "brother" - the European-Japanese ion engine, specially designed for the space satellite BepiColombo, on the contrary, is the world record holder among ion engines. Its capacity is 290, 000 micronewtons.