donderdag 24 juli 2008

Solar Sailing in Space

Photon flight: NASA’s NanoSail-D is a small satellite that can move through space using a solar sail propelled by pressure from photons. The sail, fully expanded to 10 square meters in this image, is a very thin sheet of plastic coated with aluminum. Technology Review, Thursday, July 24, 2008

NASA prepares to test a satellite that can be propelled by light particles from the sun bouncing off its sails.
For the first time, NASA is preparing to send into orbit a small satellite that can be propelled by solar sails. When light particles from the sun strike the surface of the sail, the energy is transferred to it, providing a propulsive force that moves the satellite through space.
NASA's goal is to test the complex deployment mechanism of the 10-square-meter sails, says Dean Alhorn, an engineer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville, AL, and the lead engineer on the project. "A successful flight will not only make for a unique historical event, but will show that we have a reliable mechanism to deploy a solar sail in space for future missions," says Alhorn.

Geen opmerkingen: