After sailing in water and in air, it is time to unfurl sails in thespace and year 2010 may actually be marked as the year of beginning ofsolar sailing.
Two different space experiments are set to use lightpressure from sun to demonstrate that space propulsion is possible.These sail will be covered with a thin solar cells film to generaterequired electricity to acquire and transmit data.
If these work thenone would not need chemical fuels to drift around within solar system.These sails will be best energy efficient and zero emission way tostudy the sun and other planets.
The mission Japan Aerospace agency will launch Ikaros sometime innext May while Planetary Society’s Mission is set to sail LightSail1 atthe end of 2010. These solar sails may usher in a new wave of spaceresearch to study sun and nearby stars using large thin structure whichwill use energy of photon (light particles) for moving in space andcollecting data. These will be kite like structures floating in spaceusing solar energy instead of heavy satellites and spacecrafts thatwill collect data to unravel mysteries of our solar system. This willbe first instance of exclusive use of alternate energy in spaceresearch.
Planetary Society’s LightSail-1 Spacecraft Propelled by Solar Sails