Why ion propulsion?

Are ion engines radioactive?

No. Ion engines work on the principles of charged particles. They are not radioactive. Radioactivity means that an atom is not stable and is losing subatomic particles (small parts of itself) slowly over time. Radioactive decay occurs until enough subatomic particles decay for the atom to turn into a totally different atom, called the daughter isotope.

Ion propulsion works by charging atoms electrically, not making them come apart. When an atom is charged (i.e. loses or gains an electron) its reactivity is changed, but the atom itself does not change identity. It is stable, just more or less reactive with other atoms or ions.

What is an ion?
What is an atom?
How does DS1's engine work?
How could something as small as an atom move a space craft?
What is the difference between an ion engine and a conventional one?
What are other ion using technologies?

What is plasma?
How are ions charged?
How are ions accelerated?
What does electrically charged mean?
Are ion engines nuclear?