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7

@tfb is correct: this is another form of ion propulsion, or generally, electric propulsion. A good general reference for electric propulsion is Fundamentals of Electric Propulsion: Ion and Hall Thrusters from JPL's DESCANSO series. The problem with electric propulsion using ultra-high exhaust velocities is the power required to drive the exhaust beam. If ...


3

This is going to depend very much on mission intent and time frame. If mission duration is in years and overall mass is small electric propulsion may work, and do so for lower overall mass. Especially if the mission on arrival requires large amounts of power so large solar cells are not wasted mass. If aim is to get there quickly and with a large payload (...


5

That was a good description of a magnetic sail, which is a concept that is out there but hasn't been tested yet. It can change the direction of thrust by changing the orientation of the magnetic field. It has a theoretical advantage over solar sails in that the weight increases with the circumference of the sail rather than with the area, but I guess I ...


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