Science: Plasma Pinch

Airplanes were still in pinfeathers when Rudyard Kipling wrote his stirring turn-of-the-century story. With the Night Mail, and filled the fictional skies over the Atlantic with swift craft propelled by a vaguely described "Fleury's Ray." Present-day jetliners are already three times as fast as Kipling's night flyers, but his imaginative planes may soon have ray-driven descendants in space. Last week Republic Aviation Corp. demonstrated a "plasma pinch'' space engine that uses magnetic force to spit out a fierce blue flash of electrified particles— a 20th century version of Fleury's Ray.

Swift Flash. The power for Republic's engine is produced by a...

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