June 21, 2005

Real star power

Launch set for solar sail spacecraft. Solar sails catch the stellar 'wind' coming from our sun for propulsion, much like a sail works on watercraft. Because the solar wind is so much less dense than wind, the corresponding sail area must be much greater. Fortunately, the microgravity present in space means that the sail can be much thinner as well.

So the spacecraft will use a naturally occurring, non-consumable resource to move. Whatever will the environmentalists have to complain about?

If all goes as planned, Cosmos 1 was to be launched early Tuesday afternoon, California time, and carried into Earth's orbit by a converted intercontinental ballistic missile...

Oh. Ok.

Posted by Ted at June 21, 2005 12:10 PM
Category: Space Program

That thing is bloody cool, I was reading about it a while back when they were putting it together, it's right out of Star Trek. I want them to make one that looks like a pirate ship except with a big solar sail instead. Arrrr... Mars.

Posted by: Oorgo at June 21, 2005 02:20 PM

With the sail being so thin isn't there a greater chance of it getting destroyed by stray crap, rock fragments, all of the bits that make our meteor showers, or even high speed dust? As you can see I've done no research.

Posted by: Maelstrom at June 21, 2005 03:45 PM

Given that the greenies are just the spent leftovers of the No Nukes movement, their delight at an old ICBM being used for science will probably outweigh their concern over burning a little rocket fuel.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at June 21, 2005 05:46 PM
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