Already in 2017 to the International space station will test a new type of ion engine. Like other devices of this kind, the invention has a high efficiency, but differs from the closest analogue that as fuel for the engine it is possible to use metals, their alloys and other parts of space debris.
The creation of a new type of engine is a group of Australian scientists headed by a graduate of the University of Sydney (University of Sydney) Dr. Patrick Neumana. Development itself has received the name of Neumann Drive. Non-standard approach scientists not only has a fairly high efficiency, but also allow you to clear the orbit of our planet from waste that has accumulated there are already quite a lot.
According to the author of the project,
"Neumann Drive motor uses electrical energy, which can be obtained from solar or nuclear source, as well as a metallic fuel to create a pulsed arc discharge, which works almost the same as electric arc welding".As fuel can be some metals that can be found not only in space debris, and other objects of open space. For example, magnesium and aluminum, which are abundant in the structures of the devices, turned into space junk.
However, the metal that is most efficiently feeds the engine Neumann Drive, is molybdenum. And it is extremely small to space debris, but when using it the engine may be accelerated to very high speeds. published