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EU-Backed 'Electric Sail' Could Be the Fastest Man-Made Device Ever Built

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posted on Dec, 14 2010 @ 01:51 PM
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December 12, 2010

IKAROS would do well to watch its back, for the Japanese solar-sailing spacecraft may just have some competition that's fast enough to catch up. The EU is funding a three-year project at the Finnish Meteorological Institute to build the fastest man-made device in the universe: an electric sail, or ESAIL, that researchers say could make Pluto in just five years' time.

Like the more well-known solar sail, the ESAIL is propelled by solar radiation and therefore requires no chemical or ion propellant. But rather than actually unfurling a huge membranous sail to catch photons from the sun to provide thrust, the ESAIL repels protons.




www.popsci.com...


Japan and the EU seem to be far ahead of the U.S. in developing new technology, it is very disappointing that we are not number one any longer. We talk about going back to the Moon but I think that another country will do it first, more then likely Japan, hope that is not the case but it looks that way.


IKAROS Solar-Sail Craft Successfully Steers With Strategically Placed LCDs, Using No Propellant

07-30-2010

Japan’s IKAROS spacecraft is still solar sailing its way across the solar system in a proof of concept experiment that has gone, by all outward appearances, extremely well thus far. Marking another milestone for the mission, JAXA (Japan’s space agency) announced earlier this week the completion of another successful experiment as IKAROS executed attitude control using thin LCD panel devices built into the edges of its membrane-like solar sail.


IKAROS's Attitude-Shifting LCD Scheme


www.popsci.com...


Another accomplishment for Japan, the sail rotates as the spacecraft glides along, collecting photons from sunlight as it goes to keep its forward momentum. This technology will afford cheap space flight one day. I don't see the U.S. using it anytime soon, why would they want to safe money and put companies like JPL out of business.




posted on Dec, 14 2010 @ 04:04 PM
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reply to post by Aquarius1
 


Very cool find Aquarius!!

I remember hearing about scientists who were theorizing about reaching half the speed of light using a device very similar to what is in your post.

I didn't know that it was being put to the test yet however....



posted on Dec, 14 2010 @ 06:23 PM
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reply to post by Aquarius1
 


This is very similar to the light foil concept also being worked on by the Europeans.

It would be interesting to see them develop some of these things, and begin a bonafied space colonization program so we can start depopulating the world the old fashioned way, through indentured servitude.

I bet one of these trips would really cost the people in steerage a pretty penny.

I wonder if tobacco and chocolate from another planet would taste better than our own?

Very interesting find.

Starred and Flagged.



posted on Dec, 14 2010 @ 06:32 PM
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Great so the we've spent billions to develop a one way trip solar kite/parachute... talk about seeing our money "sailing away"...



posted on Dec, 14 2010 @ 06:34 PM
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reply to post by ProtoplasmicTraveler
 


Maybe the light foil was what I was thinking of regarding my last post in this thread.

I believe that the way the flying space machine that I referenced would work would be using a somewhat stationary laser to accelerate a housing of people by aiming the laser at a sail attached to the housing.
(I wouldn't be jumping on board)

The main thing that I remember about this idea was that it was purported to move at half the speed of light.

The flying space machine in the OP is a much more efficient design than what I was referring because, as Aquarius has pointed out, it uses nothing to accelerate it but light.
Man.... That stuff is everywhere.



posted on Dec, 14 2010 @ 06:39 PM
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Way to go EU and Japan!! I hope it works, but I'd like to see some more specs; like how big does it have to be, and how does it travel back to Earth towards the Sun and against the solar wind?

It will still be a revolutionary invention even if it can’t travel back to the Earth because it could be used to further study each planet and moon. Fun stuff.



posted on Dec, 14 2010 @ 06:46 PM
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I found a video showing how it is suppose to work. If someone wants to upload it go ahead otherwise click here.
www.youtube.com...


A full-scale electric sail consists of a number (50-100) of long (e.g., 20 km), thin (e.g., 25 microns) conducting tethers (wires). The spacecraft contains a solar-powered electron gun (typical power a few hundred watts) which is used to keep the spacecraft and the wires in a high (typically 20 kV) positive potential. The electric field of the wires extends a few tens of metres into the surrounding solar wind plasma. Therefore the solar wind ions "see" the wires as rather thick, about 100 m wide obstacles. A technical concept exists for deploying (opening) the wires in a relatively simple way and guiding or "flying" the resulting spacecraft electrically.

www.electric-sailing.fi...

So, the sail would be 40km in diameter, that is HUGE!


edit on 14-12-2010 by tooo many pills because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 14 2010 @ 06:53 PM
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reply to post by ProtoplasmicTraveler
 

This must be what you're talking about Proto.

Video: In Groundbreaking Demonstration of Flying Lightfoil, Laser Beam Generates Lift

The idea of moving objects with light is not a new one. Solar sails, such as those used by Japan’s IKAROS spacecraft, harness the sun’s radiation for propulsion. But researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology have shown that light can also generate the much more complex force known as lift – the same force that allows airplanes’ wings to hoist them aloft as they move through the air.




www.popsci.com...


Video

The Japanese are very busy making us look like idiots.

Thanks for posting.



posted on Dec, 14 2010 @ 06:57 PM
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reply to post by tooo many pills
 


Thanks for the link.





posted on Dec, 14 2010 @ 07:00 PM
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Originally posted by Josephus23
reply to post by Aquarius1
 




I remember hearing about scientists who were theorizing about reaching half the speed of light using a device very similar to what is in your post.

I didn't know that it was being put to the test yet however....



Bringing up light or lightfoil is related, I posted an article about it above.

Thanks for posting.



posted on Dec, 14 2010 @ 07:46 PM
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reply to post by Aquarius1
 


Thank you greatly for the link...

That was exactly what I was thinking when I originally posted.

And another thank you to proto for making me aware of the lightfoil design.

The Japanese do seem to be waaaaaaaaay ahead of us however.

The design in the OP is very efficient, and not only that, but it is here and ready to go.
Whereas the lightoil is in the idea stage...


And America moves quickly into the passengers seat while staring at the back seat for another quick switch, hoping not to be dropped off and have to walk home.



posted on Dec, 15 2010 @ 07:03 AM
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reminds me of a movie I watched once where the spaceship had a rotating section to it.

what amazes me is why Japan hasn't attacked america? they had atomic bombs dropped on them only 60 odd years ago.. I know I would definitely hold a grudge for that one. I also don't understand how they repopulated so quickly with all the radiation and what not.. I know this is off-topic but if anyone has a simple answer I would like to hear it.



posted on Dec, 15 2010 @ 07:51 AM
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Originally posted by Eonnn
reminds me of a movie I watched once where the spaceship had a rotating section to it.

what amazes me is why Japan hasn't attacked america? they had atomic bombs dropped on them only 60 odd years ago.. I know I would definitely hold a grudge for that one. I also don't understand how they repopulated so quickly with all the radiation and what not.. I know this is off-topic but if anyone has a simple answer I would like to hear it.


If you keep up on Asia Affairs the Japanese Military Officers have been writing papers stating the United States was to blame in WWII and Japan was the innocent party. The push to get our military out of Okinawa is being done by the Japanese military secretly. They pay +$2 Billion annually to support a few of our Marines there...if they can get them kicked out of Okinawa this would free up money for the Japanese to start mass producing their Mitsubishi Stealth fighter and other hardware they've secretly been working on.

Watch the "Samurai" show on the History Channel hosted by mark dacascos. The Iron Chef guy. His grandparents were killed by our nukes on Japan. In the show he says Japan had a civil war with it's samurai and closed down to the world. The US Navy rolled in and told the Japanese to open up to trade or they would be bombed.

That forced Japan to modernize and they started trading. Then the United States closed it's doors and ceased selling crude oil to Japan. They used our tactic against us and bombed us because we refused to trade with them.

mark dacascos on that show essentially says Japan was in the right and we screwed them in WWII. Fear what the Samurai's may do to us to correct this injustice. It won't be pretty.



posted on Dec, 16 2010 @ 02:59 AM
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^ Don't forget they raped millions upon millions of chinese, and korean females.
They DESERVED to be bombed for that B/S.


But that was the Passed... but this is awesome.. I personally don't care who advances..becauase its' still an advancement for man-kind.



posted on Dec, 16 2010 @ 03:29 PM
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Great find. I hope this will be the first of many spacecraft to use the technology. I'd love to see a solar sail 'ship go all the way to Mars and the asteroid belt.



posted on Dec, 16 2010 @ 07:09 PM
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Originally posted by mothy99
Great find. I hope this will be the first of many spacecraft to use the technology. I'd love to see a solar sail 'ship go all the way to Mars and the asteroid belt.


I would love to see this technology used also, my hope is that it doesn't go by the wayside like so many other things that have been developed and put on a shelf.

Thanks for posting.



posted on Dec, 18 2010 @ 12:05 PM
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Why does this have to be a one way trip? Gather speed using the sail until you get to the planet/area of interest and detach your cargo/dock with returning cargo (or passengers) and then use a gravity "slingshot" to shoot the craft back towards Earth. This may not be an ideal way to travel but it seems to have potential especially since the slingshot method around a planet can greatly increase the speed of a craft.



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