Jet planes might a single working day fly with no fossil fuels by utilizing plasma jets, new investigate from scientists in China indicates.

A wide range of spacecraft, these as NASA’s Dawn area probe, generate plasma from gases these as xenon for propulsion. However, these thrusters exert only little propulsive forces, and so can uncover use only in outer area, in the absence of air friction.

Now scientists have produced a prototype thruster capable of producing plasma jets with propulsive forces similar to people from traditional jet engines, utilizing only air and energy.