Science of Star Wars: Tie Fighters

Tie stands for “Twin Ion Engine”. We have those.

Tie Fighters are one of the coolest and most iconic visuals in the Star Wars Universe.  Tie stands for Twin Ion Engines which were very new technology back in 1977.  So what are they?

Well, in short, it’s a propulsion system for deep-space probes that uses electricity to ionize a gas and propel it (through an applied electric field) out of the craft.

They can reach incredibly high speeds over longer period of time.  They’re very slow at first, but the speed accumulates very steadily.  The Dawn mission that brought us views of asteroids/dwarf planets Vesta and Ceres was powered by this drive.

But here’s another description that’s perhaps more artistic and visual by Nerdist: