from the warp-factor-one-engage dept.
Dr Cool writes "A new design of spacecraft ion engine has been tested by the European Space Agency which dramatically improves performance over present thrusters and marks a major step forward in space propulsion capability. Ion engines are a form of electric propulsion and work by accelerating a beam of positively charged particles (or ions) away from the spacecraft using an electric field. ESA is currently using electric propulsion on its Moon mission, SMART-1. The new engine is over ten times more fuel efficient than the one used on SMART-1."
Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable.
Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.