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NASA to launch world's largest solar sail

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posted on Jan, 31 2013 @ 08:09 AM
I searched the site and didn't find any thread on this. Looks like we're getting closer to actually crossing interstellar distances.

At least we're showing some kind of advancement; fossil fuels are getting old.

The largest solar sail ever constructed is headed for the launch pad in 2014 on a mission to demonstrate the value of "propellantless propulsion"— the act of using photons from the sun to push a craft through space.

"We took the name Sunjammer from an Arthur C. Clarke short story, a fictional yacht race in the heavens using solar sails," said Nathan Barnes, L'Garde's chief operating officer and executive vice president, as well as Sunjammer's project manager. Permission to use the name came from the Clarke estate, he told

Work on Sunjammer this year includes a programmatic milestone — a critical design review — along with a variety of ground demonstration tests and qualification of components, Barnes said. The flight of the solar sail, he said, is set for the end of 2014, to be sent spaceward atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

"With this sail, we’re targeting our end goal somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,864,114 miles (3 million kilometers) distance from the Earth," Barnes said.

You can find it on NASA's website as well by typing in "The Sunjammer Project" on the internet.
edit on 31-1-2013 by extraterrestrialentity because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 31 2013 @ 08:30 AM
I think it's great that we starting to use propulsion methods other than fossil fuels,
and solar sails are a very good method because, well, they don't carry any fuel, all they need is light.

Maybe we might even achieve interstellar travel one day with this method.
And maybe as people start seeing the beauty and vastness of the universe instead of caring about what a celebrity did last week.

posted on Jan, 31 2013 @ 08:45 AM
reply to post by extraterrestrialentity

Its kinda nostalgic and romantic at the same time in the historical sense.
We crossed the mighty untamed oceans with giant sails that used free abundant energy. Those men that braved the oceans and begged for mercy from the weather brought nations untold wealth and knowledge.

And here we are today about to cross space in the same manner probably gaining untold wealth and knowledge.
Mark twain nailed when he said " History doesn't repeat its self but it does rhyme"

And to think now those trips that took months or years now take hours and days. Our future is bright indeed.

edit on 31-1-2013 by CitizenJack because: typo

posted on Jan, 31 2013 @ 10:18 PM
reply to post by extraterrestrialentity

Cool! Maybe this technology can be used for trips to Mars. Granted that Mars is more than than the projected distance in the post, but you never know.

posted on Feb, 1 2013 @ 08:19 AM
I thought since the dawn of rocketry the propellants have always been based on liquid gasses such as oxygen an hydrogen.

Just wondering about the references to "fossil fuels" that have been made in the thread.....?

posted on Feb, 1 2013 @ 09:07 AM
This type of craft reminds of the Good Ole Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode where Cisco built a model of the Bajoran Solar Sail space Craft.

Very cool stuff here.

posted on Feb, 1 2013 @ 11:35 AM
reply to post by siliconpsychosis

That's why I wrote that it's a good thing that we are starting to use other methods for propulsion,
because we've been using it for so long, and we've been polluting the atmosphere for so long.

posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 07:28 AM
reply to post by extraterrestrialentity

A cool project,although a solar sail wouldn't be used as the sole source of propulsion for interstellar travel,as they are only worth using within certain distances of our sun or another star.
Too far from a star=very little(if any)propulsion.

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