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NASA’s Light Sail Revolutionizes Space Travel

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A new technology called “solar reversal sailing” makes it easier to maneuver the probes

An artist's rendering of NASA's new solar sail (Photo: MacKenzi Martin, nasa.gov)

An artist’s rendering of NASA’s new solar sail (Photo: MacKenzi Martin, nasa.gov)

Laurel / New York (pte001 / 27.05.2022 / 06:00) –

US space agency NASA http://nasa.gov He developed a concept that would allow light to bend before hitting the sail of a spacecraft. “As we go deeper into the universe than ever before, we need innovative, cutting-edge technologies to power our missions,” said Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator. “Reflective solar sails” is the name for a new type of sun sail, in which sunlight falls through a fine lattice of light so that it bends and deflects off course. Only then did it hit the solar sail.

Use all the energy of the sun

With the new approach, NASA developers want to make sure all of the sunlight’s energy is used. And they say that because of the diffraction, the probe can then be oriented. The Diffractive SolarSailing project is led by Amber Dobell of the Applied Physics Laboratory http://jhuapl.edu I went to Johns Hopkins University http://jhu.edu he heard. A team from Rochester Institute of Technology has previously demonstrated feasibility http://rit.edu proven. In future development work, the thinner material from which the sail is made must be improved.

Orbits of spacecraft passing over the sun’s north and south poles are difficult to achieve using conventional spacecraft propulsion. Powered by the constant pressure of the sun’s rays, the lightweight reflective sails could launch a constellation of science spacecraft into orbit around the sun’s poles. This will improve understanding of the Sun, space weather forecasting capabilities, and eventually Earth forecasts.

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Decades-old vision implemented

“Reflective solar sails are a modern interpretation of the decades-old view of optical sails. With our team’s combined expertise in optics, space, conventional solar sailing and metamaterials, we hope scientists will be able to see the sun like never before,” Dobell said.

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