Hall thrusters have been established as a compact and reliable means for satellite applications. Erosion of the surfaces of such thrusters, however, has been a serious factor in limiting their lifetimes. Replacing eroded surfaces by replenishing them is generally unattractive because of the mechanical complexity and added weight that could be required. This invention addresses these concerns using a lightweight material (liquid lithium) in a porous medium tat when heated, draws the lighium to the thruster surface without any mechanical components. The ensuing vapor cloud of lithium then allows heat dissipation to occur. Other benefits are also disclosed.
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