It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
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.
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....
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.
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.