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The Sunjammer Project

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posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 08:07 PM
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In 2011, a NASA team embarked on the development of a Technology Demonstration Mission known as the Solar Sail Demonstrator which intended to prove the viability and value of using a huge, ultra-thin sail unfurling in space and using the pressure of sunlight itself to provide propellant-free transport, hovering and exploration capabilities.

Led by industry manufacturer L'Garde Inc. of Tustin, California, and including participation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Solar Sail Demonstrator project was built upon successful ground-deployment experiments led by L'Garde in 2005-2006 at the Plum Brook Facility in Sandusky, Ohio, a research laboratory managed by NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. It also leveraged the successful deployment of the NanoSail-D sail, a 100-square-foot test article NASA launched to Earth orbit in 2011 to validate sail deployment techniques.


www.nasa.gov...

This technology currently exists is designed to get us to speeds of about 56 miles per second or 200,000 miles per hour. The link explains that the project was concluded but I consider that the project was classified, once the preliminary test was completed.

A reasoning for that is that if these early efforts were unsuccessful then the data to that effect would have been made public.

That pretty much SOP as then it would have given a chance for other, scientists to work on it.



If NASA were to launch an interstellar probe powered by solar sails, it would take only eight years for it to catch the Voyager 1 spacecraft (the most distant spacecraft from Earth), which has been traveling for more than 20 years. By adding a laser or magnetic beam transmitter, NASA said it could push speeds to 18,600 mi/sec (30,000 km/sec), which is one-tenth the speed of light. At those speeds, interstellar travel would be an almost certainty.


science.howstuffworks.com...

Thoughts?




posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 08:22 PM
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Laser Sail:

Solar sails have long been considered to be a cost-effective way of exploring the Solar System. In addition to being relatively easy and cheap to manufacture, there’s the added bonus of solar sails requiring no fuel. Rather than using rockets that require propellant, the sail uses the radiation pressure from stars to push large ultra-thin mirrors to high speeds.



According to a 2000 study produced by Robert Frisbee, a director of advanced propulsion concept studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a laser sail could be accelerated to half the speed of light in less than a decade. He also calculated that a sail measuring about 320 km (200 miles) in diameter could reach Proxima Centauri in just over 12 years. Meanwhile, a sail measuring about 965 km (600 miles) in diameter would arrive in just under 9 years.


www.universetoday.com...

Further.

en.wikipedia.org...

PDF
www.planetary.org...



Abstract

The mechanisms governing solar sails are discussed. Theoretical calculations are shown demonstrating how radiation pressure is used to levitate objects on Earth. This idea is extended to space, where solar sails harness the force due to radiation pressure to accelerate objects to speeds greater than Earth’s escape velocity. Resonating cavities as they relate to solar sails are discussed as proposed by Meyer et al., along with a short discussion of IKAROS, the first solar sail propelled spacecraft.


web2.ph.utexas.edu...


edit on 21-11-2017 by Kashai because: Added content



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 08:55 PM
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Actually, it is possible that clandestinely this technology is already being applied.

This is no different than discussing what watchers identify from area 51.



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 10:04 PM
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a reply to: Kashai


The problem with a laser powered light sail is slowing down.



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 10:18 PM
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Duhhh, that’s what the brakes are for!!a reply to: Phage




posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 10:23 PM
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a reply to: Phage

That is why we would use the technology for robotic satellites.

In so far as slowing, down and actually conducting, an investigation to that effect slowing down would probably involve ION engines that activate at the appropriate time. It would mean retracting the sail for use when the satellite is ready to return, to earth. The problem would be encountering any unknown, solid object along its path but also, the Ion engine could also compensate and also add to its speed.

Though protecting the sails would be a priority which is problematic as we would need an accurate map to avoid, such potential obstacles, once we get near another solar system.



Traveling through spacetime will not be easy but it is, there.


edit on 21-11-2017 by Kashai because: Content edit

edit on 21-11-2017 by Kashai because: Content edit



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 10:34 PM
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a reply to: Kashai


Using ion thrust would mean executing the turnover maneuver quite early in the flight. With all that velocity and so little thrust it could take many years to get down to a reasonal approach velocity. This applies to the main vessel as well as any probes it may be carrying.

Point being that as far as travel time goes, I'm not sure laser propulsion would be much of an advantage. But it would get you going really, really fast. After a while.


edit on 11/21/2017 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 10:40 PM
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a reply to: Phage

And that would be just one alternative.

Another is that the spacecraft is designed to slow down like project Orion and then everything in between.

Slowing down is really not a problem.

Further reading.

ntrs.nasa.gov...


edit on 21-11-2017 by Kashai because: Added content

edit on 21-11-2017 by Kashai because: Content edit



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 10:48 PM
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a reply to: Kashai




Slowing down i is really not a problem.
Think about it. Slowing from interstellar speeds to interplanetary speed takes the same amount of energy it takes to go from interplanetary speeds to interstellar speeds.

But here's a bitchin system for travel within the Solar System. Solar wind sailing. You can even tack like a sailboat.

Who will win the 2030 Mars Cup?



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 11:04 PM
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a reply to: Phage

One of the hassles that existed with project Orion was the idea of detonating a 50+ megaton blast every 10 seconds for the sake of example, resulting in such a vessel slowing down. In consideration, if it were not for the possibility that some would have considered. Such a venture as adding radiation to the cosmos we could already send such technology into space is irrelevant.

Which by the way makes no sense as such an effort is meaningless, as to the amount of radiation the cosmos would be exposed to, under such circumstances.

It would of course currently violate restriction concerning the use of nuclear weapons in spacetime, but then again there was the Star Wars program under Ronald Wilson Regan.

Thoughts?


edit on 21-11-2017 by Kashai because: Content edit



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 11:06 PM
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The real problem is not slowing, down, it's getting there safely in the first place.

As we approach our nearest solar system it would be possible we would encounter a solid, object in our path.
edit on 21-11-2017 by Kashai because: Added content



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 11:09 PM
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a reply to: Kashai

I have always been enthralled with Orion.
The ultimate brute force method of space travel. Need really good shock absorbers.



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 11:12 PM
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a reply to: Phage

And if we did encounter, a solid object large enough to interfere with our course and could not avoid, guess what we could use to deal with it.
edit on 21-11-2017 by Kashai because: Added content



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 11:13 PM
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a reply to: Kashai

Prayer?



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 11:18 PM
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a reply to: Phage

I am not trying to suggest this is going to be easy by any stretch, of the imagination. But in so far as getting around our own solar system it seems that this would work today under the circumstances and realistically.
edit on 21-11-2017 by Kashai because: Added content



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 11:22 PM
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a reply to: Kashai

in so far as interstellar travel we could very easily run into something rather solid we did not anticipate.

But making a robotic satellite and setting a course for the Oort cloud is not unrealistic.



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 11:22 PM
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a reply to: Kashai

Space is not easy.

But oh so necessary.



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 11:29 PM
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a reply to: Phage

if they could get a laser on the surface from an unmanned craft with a power source(a few to chose from) and turn the sail around and it gets hit by this laser or maybe using a maser they could transmit energy to the craft for some hybrid of an ion drive as well as a laser



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 11:30 PM
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a reply to: penroc3

You know it's gotta be a hella big laser. (I said hella, heh.)

That might work for when you decide to colonize. But it's gonna take some planning.



posted on Nov, 21 2017 @ 11:32 PM
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a reply to: penroc3

A point would be that such a spacecraft would have multiple propulsion, systems, with several redundancies not only to just the primary ones.
edit on 21-11-2017 by Kashai because: Added content



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