An Airplane With No Moving Parts


MIT researchers have used ion drive—until now a purely space-based system—to fly a model plane a short distance indoors

MIT researchers have flown the first airplane that has no moving parts. The aircraft, packed with lithium-ion batteries, used an ion thruster to fly the 60 meters that were available in the indoor flight area.

“This was the simplest possible plane we could design that could prove the concept that an ion plane could fly,” said Steven Barrett, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. “It’s still some way away from an aircraft that could perform a useful mission. It needs

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