Solar electric propulsion takes advantage of magnetism and electricity to push a ship through space. Electricity, generated by the ship's solar panels, gives a positive electrical charge to atoms inside the chamber. They are pulled by magnetism towards the back of the ship and then pushed by magnetic repulsion out of the ship. (This is like what happens when you hold the same pole of two different magnets close to each other. They repel each other.) This steady stream of atoms going out of the spacecraft gives it the thrust it needs to go forward through space.
Ask any question below to learn how ion propulsion works.
How does DS1's engine work?
How could something as small as an atom move a space craft?
What is an atom?
What is an ion?
What is a propellant?
How do conventional rockets work?
How does propulsion work?
What is thrust?
How fast does DS1 go?
How is the ion propulsion in DS1 solar powered?
Why is the ion propulsion on DS1 solar powered?
What happens to the ions once they leave the space craft?
How are atoms charged? How do you make an ion?
Could NASA use ion propulsion to put a ship into space?
What is the difference between an ion engine and a conventional one?
Why do ion engines need a vacuum to work?