Planetary Society’s LightSail-1 Spacecraft Propelled by Solar Sails

lightsail 1 1 JP7QU 69 Planetary Society’s LightSail 1 Spacecraft Propelled by Solar Sails

Thequest to conquer space has kept space researchers working on figuringout new ways to fuel their crafts for a longer duration. However, thetechnology is often limited by the amount of fuel necessary to poweraircraft to distant locations. The Planetary Society has announced a breakthrough in solar sailing with the development of a spacecraft dubbed LightSail-1.

Thespacecraft will be launched in 2010 and will be propelled solely bysolar sails. LightSail-1 won’t carry a single drop of fuel and willtravel through space using the energy contained within the sun’s rays.The craft features four triangle-shaped aluminized Mylar sails thatcapture the momentum of light emitted by the sun and use the energy topropel the craft further into space. 

Weighingabout 11 pounds, the LightSail-1 carries sails, which when opened span6 meters across. The initial design will stay close to Earth, travelingonly a few miles on the energy, after being deployed 500 miles abovethe surface of the planet. However, the developers are hoping thatfuture missions will sail further.

 

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lightsail 1 3 uJ1PR 69 Planetary Society’s LightSail 1 Spacecraft Propelled by Solar Sails
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Via: Inhabitat/New York Times

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