‘Sunjammer,’ the largest solar sail to date, will set out for space in 2014

via i.space.com

In the vacuum of space, solar sails substitute radiation from the Sun for the wind used by earthbound sails. In 2014, NASA will launch Sunjammer, the largest solar sail yet: each side measures 124 feet, made of material just 5 microns thick. While Sunjammer has been in the works for some time — and far smaller solar sails have gone up in years past — Space.com recently profiled the project, which ultimately could let ships move through space without needing expendable fuel. The actual force Sunjammer receives from solar radiation is minimal by Earth standards — the maximum thrust is .01 newtons, which project manager Nathan Barnes says is roughly equivalent to the weight of a sugar packet — but in space, that could let it perform…

Continue reading…

The Verge – All Posts

Leave a Comment