Although it looks a lot like a trendy neon cigarette lighter this is actually Nasa's latest cutting-edge propulsion system.
The solar-electric propulsion thruster is currently under development and is being touted as the engine of choice to power the space agency's Asteroid Initiative.
The system accelerates xenon ions using a magnetic field to generate thrust and are powered by solar panels.
The system is being developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
Even though they can't produce as much power than traditional chemical rockets, ion thrusters are ideal for space missions as they are far more efficient.
An earlier version of the thruster is currently powering NASA's Dawn mission which is looking at the asteroids Vesta and Ceres.
A digram of the workings of an ion thruster
Suggested For You
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more