Ikaros Solar Sail Works!
The Ikaros solar sail, developed by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), is now receiving a speed boost from light radiated from the sun.
"The small solar power sail demonstrator 'Ikaros,' which successfully deployed its solar sail, was confirmed to accelerate by [the] solar sail receiving solar pressure," JAXA officials said in a July 9 update. "This proved that the Ikaros has generated the biggest acceleration through photon during interplanetary flight in history."
The effect stems from the cumulative push of light photons striking the solar sail. When measured together, it adds up to a small continuous thrust that does not require fuel use by the Ikaros craft.
(Ikaros solar sail deployed [more at space.com])
Science fiction fans remember the light sail from Jack Vance's excellent 1962 short story Sail 25 and the interstellar starlight sail from Cordwainer Smith's 1960 story The Lady Who Sailed The Soul.
Johannes Kepler speculated that comets' tails are bent by the sun's action in his 1619 book Opera Omnia. Newton thought it was possible that light would exert pressure on material bodies. The existence of light pressure was demonstrated in theory by James Clerk Maxwell in 1873. Laboratory experiments confirming the theory were performed in 1910 by P.N. Lebedev, a Russian physicist, who overcame great difficulties in measuring the 4.7 x 10-6 N/m2 pressure of noon sunlight here on Earth. In the 1920's, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and Fridrich Tsander wrote about "using tremendous mirrors of very thin sheets... using the pressure of sunlight to attain cosmic velocities."
The first mention of solar sails in a science fiction publication was not in a story; it occurred in the May 1951 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. Carl Wiley published an article called "Clipper Ships of Space."
Via Tariq Malik at Space.com.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/13/2010)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )
Related News Stories -
Autonomous 'Fiberbots' Weave Large Structures
'It extrudes material like a spider.' - Charles Sheffield, 1979.
How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.' - Robert Heinlein, 1939.
PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...' - Frederic Arnold Kummer, Jr., 1940.
International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks' - Robert Heinlein, 1948.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Jaguar I-Pace Audible Vehicle Alert System For EVs
'Of course not a vehicle moved by means of internal explosions of a derivative of rock oil...'
Autonomous 'Fiberbots' Weave Large Structures
'It extrudes material like a spider.'
Birds Aren't Real - Wake Up, California! (With Bird Watching Guide)
'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'
Self-Healing Material Pulls Carbon Out Of The Air
'... could seal the punctures.'
IRL Glasses Block Screens, Limit Vision To Real Life
'If you couldn't see the ads, how would you know what was fashionable?'
Testing The Single-Person Spacecraft
'...the lower part of the suit was simply a rigid cylinder.'
Shapeshifting Materials Transform By Light
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'
Fully Automated Farm Iron Ox Hydroponics
'Had these machines in some incredible fashion been provided with brains?'
BrainNet Social Network Of Brains
'I used my implant to tell MILLIE what we wanted and she took care of it'
Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
'Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...'
IONITY Opens First 10 Fast-Charging Stations
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'
Superstrong Multilayer Metal-Graphene Composite Material
Negligible increase in weight increased material strength by hundreds of times.
Deepfakes Imperil Democracy (George Orwell, Right Again)
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'
String Art Courtesy Of Robot Artist
The number of different ways to span a thread between a larger number of hooks is astronomical.
Still Wondering If You'd Work For A Robot Boss?
'This is all coming to you courtesy of the simstim unit wired into your deck, of course.'
World's First Autonomous Tram In Germany
What's it like for autonomous trams when they're turned off at night?
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories