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Eric Johlin
Undergraduate Student, Mechanical Engineering

Ion engines are the most efficient propulsion method for deep space propulsion and satellite stationkeeping. In order to produce thrust, these engines must ionize heavy gas atoms (xenon, in this case) to form a plasma. This picture highlights the chromatic reflections visible on the rear surface of the test chamber. To the right of center is the small plasma ball produced by the cathode, and to the left is a tungsten probe heating up in preparation for taking a measurement.


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