MIT's Dr Oleg Batishchev and his colleagues have been working on a simplified version of one promising advanced space propulsion idea, the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR). While the full-size concept requires a fission reactor for power, the MIT group has been toying with a miniature knockoff for satellite propulsion tasks like station-keeping. To prove just how simple they can make it, they fashioned a working plasma thruster whose components are - really - a glass bottle and a Coke can.
1. The video of this thing being tested is really cool.
2. Why do I keep thinking of Tony Stark in Iron Man building a working "arc reactor" in a cave from scrap materials?