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Solar Sails the Future of Space Travel?

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posted on May, 28 2014 @ 05:02 AM
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Solar Sails are back on the front page as Nasa plans to launch the Sunjammer mission into space which is reported to be the largest Solar Sail built to date.




The $27 million Sunjammer mission, which takes its name from the Arthur C. Clarke story, will use a sail built by California-based company L'Garde that measures 124 feet (38 m) on a side. The sail, made of an advanced material called Kapton, is just 5 microns (about 0.0002 inches) thick. It weighs less than 70 pounds (32 kilograms) and packs down to the size of a dishwasher, NASA officials have said.


Here's a factoid about Solar Sails.



A spacecraft equipped with a sail 1,300 feet (400 meters) wide, for example, could travel 1.3 billion miles (2.1 billion kilometers) per year, allowing it to escape the sun's sphere of influence in just a decade or so, according to researchers behind the Interstellar Probe, a NASA concept mission proposed about 15 years ago. [Photos: Solar Sail Evolution for Space Travel]


Wow, escape the Solar system in just a decade or so...! That's compared to chemical rockets that could barely even reach Jupiter in 10 years. The technology to make Solar Sails has been around for a long time so why haven't we built and utilized them until now? Is it because of the Gas/ Oil monopoly, were we warned not to explore the Solar System by some advanced alien civilization, or something else?

What says ATS?

www.space.com...




posted on May, 28 2014 @ 05:40 AM
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Interesting!

I'm a bit concerned by the amount of holes it will have in it over 10 years?

Haven't read the full article yet, so am interested in its durability. thanks for sharing.


edit on 28/5/14 by OpenEars123 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 06:30 AM
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Waste of time imo! VASIMIR with only a 200kw engine has the ability to reach Mars in 39 days. Scale that up to a megawatt & the whole solar system opens up.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 06:42 AM
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Am I wrong or does a solar sail only work moving away from the sun?

On a less serious note: What do they do at night?



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 06:47 AM
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originally posted by: Beartracker16
Am I wrong or does a solar sail only work moving away from the sun?

On a less serious note: What do they do at night?


Basically no they dont work at night which means they are only good for space travel within our solar system pretty much, sure you could get some nice speed up before leaving but simply not enough of a "run up" of speed to leave our solar system fast enough to coast to the next solar systems.

(further you go away from the sun the weaker the "push" you get)

Talk of focused lasers, no matter how focused, will lose that focus at the extreme ranges, so offer litter extra over the suns natural energy)



edit on b5252616 by Biigs because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 06:48 AM
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OH.... it really is a sail. I figured it was a convenient term not an actual sail. I'm pretty ignorant to the whole thing.

It looks like a waste of money ,imo.

How would this large piece of fancy poster board traverse space without getting destroyed?



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 07:23 AM
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originally posted by: Beartracker16
Am I wrong or does a solar sail only work moving away from the sun?

On a less serious note: What do they do at night?


Erm there is no night or day in space



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 07:24 AM
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originally posted by: BlastedCaddy
OH.... it really is a sail. I figured it was a convenient term not an actual sail. I'm pretty ignorant to the whole thing.

It looks like a waste of money ,imo.

How would this large piece of fancy poster board traverse space without getting destroyed?



Simple is most of the time the best way,



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 07:29 AM
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originally posted by: big_BHOY
Waste of time imo! VASIMIR with only a 200kw engine has the ability to reach Mars in 39 days. Scale that up to a megawatt & the whole solar system opens up.


O i agree.

Problem with it is the hippy brigade.

To get the 200kw or mw you need a nuclear reactor for power. The hippy brigade throw a fit everytime space angencys mention the N word.

If it wernt for these ignorant flower brained tree huggers we likley would already have colonys on mars and likley be exploring the outer solar system.

We need to go nuclear or go home when it comes to space! Playing with toy chem rockets wonr get us very far.


As for solar sails? A good thing for probes but for long range manned flight? Likley wont be much good.y
edit on 28-5-2014 by crazyewok because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 07:52 AM
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I immediately thought it is too slow for manned travelling and only adequate for probes, but some have different ideas:


...A solar sail would increase its speed by approximately 310 kilometers per hour (195 mph) after one day, moving 7500 kilometers (4700 miles) in the process. After 12 days it will have increased its speed 3700 kilometers per hour (2300 mph).

While these speeds and distances are already substantial for interplanetary travel, they are insignificant when compared to the requirements of a journey to the stars. Given time, however, with small but constant acceleration, a solar sail spacecraft can reach any desired speed. If the acceleration diminishes due to an increasing distance from the Sun, some scientists have proposed pointing powerful laser beams at the spacecraft to propel it forward. Although such a strategy is not practicable with current technology and resources, solar sailing is nevertheless the only known technology that could someday be used for interstellar travel
www.planetary.org...


S&F!! Great thread!



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 08:38 AM
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originally posted by: crazyewok

originally posted by: big_BHOY
Waste of time imo! VASIMIR with only a 200kw engine has the ability to reach Mars in 39 days. Scale that up to a megawatt & the whole solar system opens up.


O i agree.

Problem with it is the hippy brigade.

To get the 200kw or mw you need a nuclear reactor for power. The hippy brigade throw a fit everytime space angencys mention the N word.

If it wernt for these ignorant flower brained tree huggers we likley would already have colonys on mars and likley be exploring the outer solar system.

We need to go nuclear or go home when it comes to space! Playing with toy chem rockets wonr get us very far.


As for solar sails? A good thing for probes but for long range manned flight? Likley wont be much good.y


You took the words right from my mouth, Crazy e Wok. Vasmir IS the way to go but people get scared at the idea of using nuclear reactors to travel thru space. Too bad.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 09:55 AM
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a reply to: Agartha

Sweet info, I'm a numbers guy...

Per Solar Sails - I feel like it's just as feasible as anything else anyone has proposed - if I'm not mistaken that's how Family Guy travels to some other planet on Davinci's machine! /fun&games

Solar Sails seem to be a legitimate means of inexpensive, high-speed travel. Per everyone's notion that they stop working when you run out of light ... Where in space are you without light? So long as you can see a star there is light touching you...

This is pertinent to the conversation for two reasons - one - the naysayers for this reason, and two - regardless of how little light is available, it is always available, and while you may get Diminishing Returns on Acceleration from Our Sun by the time you reach the edge of the solar system - maybe shifting the sails a couple of degrees will give you enough pickup from another star to keep you accelerating -- but acceleration aside; by the time you reach the edge of the solar system, you're going to be moving fairly quick for very cheap - maybe best for very large population movement or something of the sort - millions of people on ten-mile starcruisers type thing... Or probes.

I'm a supporter of Nuclear in space, personally - but for the part of me that would consider other options, and for those of you out there that wouldn't be so supportive of the N word - Solar, again. Panels, this time. Suppose your Solar Sail ( Or... SailSSS? (are)) is also comprised of small solar-cells, that are collecting energy to power something like that VASIMR thing ( nifty ). Now you've achieved free movement, as well as the option to really kick it in the pants once you've collected the energy or reached a point where you no longer will.

All in all, space travel is sketchy, Nuclear, Solar, or ... Dark Matter - we're rolling the dice, and that's just part of the game. I'd honestly like to see a hundred thousand people on a hybrid ship with prefabricated BioDomes head to Mars; what's the worst that could happen? Iraq? Ahem....

S&F, Thought provoking.



posted on May, 28 2014 @ 10:16 AM
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originally posted by: DigitalJedi805


All in all, space travel is sketchy, Nuclear, Solar, or ... Dark Matter - we're rolling the dice, and that's just part of the game. I'd honestly like to see a hundred thousand people on a hybrid ship with prefabricated BioDomes head to Mars; what's the worst that could happen? Iraq? Ahem....



I'd love to see that too, I'd love to be part of it really but I know it won't happen......but my kids may.

And yes, space travel is really sketchy still, but i'm sure it will change in a couple of decades when new technology will make it a reality.





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