ion engine


: a reaction engine deriving thrust from the ejection of a stream of ionized particles

Examples of ion engine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Propelled by an ion engine, the craft was the first to ever visit a dwarf planet. Chelsea Gohd, Discover Magazine, 11 Dec. 2018 The laser would bathe the panels in light a hundred times as bright as sunshine, keeping the ion engine running from here to Pluto, about 4 billion miles away. Corey S. Powell, Discover Magazine, 13 Mar. 2019 Called a gridded ion engine, this is the type that powers Dawn. Steve Gabriel, Discover Magazine, 10 Mar. 2015 The Dawn spacecraft used an efficient ion engine to visit Vesta (left) and Ceres (right) in this artist’s rendering. Corey S Powell, Discover Magazine, 30 Apr. 2015 An ion engine ionizes propellant by adding or removing electrons to produce ions. Amy Shira Teitel, Discover Magazine, 25 Feb. 2018 Another technique is ion beam deflection, or shooting an ion engine at an asteroid for long periods of time until the ions change the asteroid's velocity and orbit. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 23 Sep. 2022 Its ion engine is also a next-generation evolution of previous NASA hardware. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 20 Sep. 2022 The solar arrays are expected to power the spacecraft and the agency’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster, a commercial ion engine being tested on the mission. Eric Killelea, San Antonio Express-News, 26 Nov. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ion engine.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1958, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ion engine was in 1958

Dictionary Entries Near ion engine

Cite this Entry

“Ion engine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

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