Could an "Ion Pulse Drive" exist?

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Could an "Ion Pulse Drive" exist?
« on: 28/04/2009 21:30:03 »
Cindy asked the Naked Scientists:
Hello, Chris, my name is Cindy.

I know it sounds odd, but I had a very unusual dream about the discovery and application of "Ion Pulse Drive". In this dream, there was a craft which was very large and sort of flat, that actually travelled on ions, similar to skipping a stone across a lake, but without the skip. The craft was able to travel at unimaginable speed without affecting who or what was inside the craft or damaging its integrity. I looked and found nothing similar to this idea on the web. I am not a scientist, I am a layman but this idea was so real that I wanted to share it with someone.


What do you think?


Offline Supercryptid

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« Reply #1 on: 28/04/2009 21:43:10 »
Ion propulsion has been used on spacecraft before but not in the way that you describe. In such applications, the ions are shot out the rear of the spacecraft for propulsion. The thrust generated is very small, so the acceleration is also small. The top speed, however, has the potential to be rather high if the engine is used for long enough.

What you are describing may be likened to a magnetohydrodynamic drive or perhaps an ionocraft (also called a "lifter"). Using ion wind to propel an aircraft is not yet practical because we do not have the needed energy density for such craft to carry their own power source onboard.

This might be of interest to you:
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