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Ion Pulse Drive

The Ion Pulse Drive is actually a type of ion propulsion engine, or ion thruster.

I've see the ion engine work in video as a simple science project, a light tethered object charges the air positively to create enough force to generate lift.

Ion Thrusters

There has actually been lots of theory and experimentation with ion thrusters in the 1900's.  NASA has been experimenting with them since the 1950's and in 1998 launched Deep Space 1 for a flyby of asteroid 9969 Braille and comet 19P Borrelly powered by an NSTAR Electrostatic Ion Thruster. 

Dawn, launched on the 27th of September, 2007, is the first NASA spacecraft on a full exploratory mission to be powered by Ion Propulsion.  Dawn accomplished a flyby of Mars on its way to explore the two largest bodies of the asteroid belt, Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres. Dawn should finish its expolration of Vesta in 2012 and move on to orbit Ceres in 2015.

Both Deep Space 1 and Dawn were a bit like Ion Pulse Drives because they used impluses for propulsion, as opposed to a constant thrust, which expends fuel more quickly.

The theory behind the Ion Pulse Drive is to create an engine that positively charges the air with ions and strategically detonate them, creating the ion pulse which is normally only referred to in science fiction movies.  Sometimes this is referred to as the ionized field detonation engine. 

The theory seems sound.  Ion thrusters have been a field of study for the past 100 years. They have been employed as spacecraft propulsion engines for nearly a decade and a half, now.  Whether we will see an actual Ion Pulse Drive produced in our lifetime is questionable, since the theory behind this type of drive offers untold, unmatched power. 

Theoretically, it could already be in use powering top-secret military aircraft.  They say that these things are so fast that once you hear it, it is already too late to see it.  Only photos of its unique jet stream are left as evidence in its wake.

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