Maggie McKee writes "Future spacecraft may surf the magnetic fields of Earth and other planets, taking previously unfeasible routes around the solar system, according to a proposal funded by NASA's Institute for Advanced Concepts. The electrically charged craft would not need rockets or propellant of any kind. To get charged up, the spacecraft could either fire a beam of charged particles into space or simply allow a radioactive isotope to emit charged particles. Because long, thin filaments have large surface areas for holding charge, the spacecraft might look like Einstein's head — with wiry filaments sticking out at all angles — or a weird space 'stocking.'"
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