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Comment Re:plasma exit velocity? (Score 5, Informative) 266

Ion drives use electromagnetic fields to accelerate particles with an accelerator. Most times they use heavy atoms like xenon.

VASIMIR makes plasma from light elements like hydrogen and then use electromagnetic fields to heat the plasma... by controlling the temperature you can change the thrust/momentum the engine creates.
(at least that's what I heared).

"I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid" -- the artificial person, from _Aliens_