First Solar Sail Space Craft Set To Be Launched

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Mr. Anderson, Jun 7, 2005.

  1. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

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    #1
  2. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #2
    You turn around when you get to alpha centauri and let it push you slower.
     
  3. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

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    #3
    after 27,000 years.

    there won't be anybody left to turn it around. unless you run it by a good old trusty mac plus.... ;)

    andi
     
  4. FoxyKaye macrumors 68000

    FoxyKaye

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    #4
    All I can think of is Star Trek IV - the captain on the large screen at the beginning of the movie when everything is going to hell: "We've deployed a makeshift solar sail. We have high hopes that this will provide us with sufficient power..."

    Come to think of it, how would you slow down? Dropping the sail will stop constant thrust, but it's not like you can rely on friction or air resistance to slow you down. Reversing the thrust would require an on-board power supply capable of decelerating with tremendous amounts of expended energy, which would defeat the purpose of going with a lightweight sail in the first place.

    Time to invent the tractor beam, I guess...
     
  5. Mr. Anderson thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

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    #5
    The solar sails are for probes that don't really need to slow down. Like I said before, manned missions might use these as extra boost, but in the end, say on a trip to Mars, you'd have to have enough fuel for the thrusters to slow you down enough to make orbit....

    D
     
  6. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

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    #6
    Remember aerodynamic braking in the movie 2010!
     
  7. emw macrumors G4

    emw

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    I wonder how fast a larger craft (one capable of storing people and supplies) would actually go with this technology.
     
  8. aloofman macrumors 68020

    aloofman

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    Count Dooku's ship seemed to be going pretty fast! :p
     
  9. plastique45 macrumors regular

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    #9
    Carl Sagan talked about this in his great COSMOS mini series.
     
  10. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

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    #10
    Sounds like a technology that's time has come. The light weight will be an advantage. Nothing like free fuel.

    Hopefully I will be able to view the solar sail while in orbit around the Earth. The only problem with the Planetary Society's prediction is if it happens to be cloudy. Although that is less of a problem in summer.

    Are you going to try to take pictures Mr. Anderson?
     
  11. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    I hope that solar wind dont have waves, i just dont see this as a practical means of space travel, with dusts,rocks,pebbles,waves and who knows what else ,it doesnt look like anything more then a experiment. I hope them well but i wouldnt expect much from this. We need Nuclear power driving a ion engine or we need the military complex to come clean on a few things like MATS.
     
  12. snkTab macrumors 6502a

    snkTab

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    #12
    I bet my hampster powered spacecraft can accelerate faster.
     
  13. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #13
    Only if its not held down by Nasa's paper beaucracy :D Then you have them beat by a few thousands reams. :eek:
     
  14. quackattack macrumors 6502a

    quackattack

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    #14
    Interesting, I will have to keep my eyes to the skies!

    I always find stuff like this really exciting. Call me a bit of a Sci-Fi nerd! :eek:
     
  15. topicolo macrumors 68000

    topicolo

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    #15
    1) to solve solar sail tearing, any interstellar probe would obviously have more than one sail to deploy after receiving enough damage to the sail depoyed at that time

    2) If the probe is being sent towards another star system (as I would assume, since just sending a probe towards the nothingness of space seems kind of stupid), you can just coat both sides of the solar sail with the reflective coating and when the probe approaches the destination star, it'll automatically slow down from that star's solar waves

    both problems easily solved
     
  16. Mr. Anderson thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

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    #16
    The only really big problem is the time it would take to get there. I don't think the current level of solar sail technology is viable for interstellar probes.....just for cruising out to our solar system and a short bit beyond - Oort Cloud, etc.

    D
     
  17. no_alternative macrumors newbie

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    #17
    science question

    I may be asking the wrong people here...(i am a n00b)...but i read in a science magazine that a reflective sail generates twice as much push as a non-reflective sail.
    Has anyone here ever seen those little windmill-looking things that live in glass cases? they consist of 4 little metal sails set horizontally and each have the same side (respectively) painted black. Since they are inside the glass case (airtight), the sails spin around - propelled by the light that hits the black side of the sails. But this seems to be in contradiction with what the science magazine says about reflective surfaces...can someone with a brain help me out with this one?
     
  18. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    There is a little air the thingies. The black side heats up the air causing it to expand pushing the thing. If it were hard vacuum it would go slowly backwards.
     
  19. no_alternative macrumors newbie

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    #19
    Ahhh...of course of course :rolleyes:
    thank you O master wizard
     
  20. mvc macrumors 6502a

    mvc

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    #20
    Ok, I'll bite, what's MATS, my obscure acronym translation filter is not working today.
     
  21. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #21
    Lets just say stealth aircraft aint nothing. leave it at that. The world isnt ready and wont be for a long,long time. Heck we cant even get along with our neighbors.
     
  22. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

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    #22
    just saw a news ticker say that it never made it to orbit, the russian missle's booster stage failed! Damn!
     
  23. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

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    #23
    Link
     
  24. Mr. Anderson thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

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    #24
    Damn! again

    Well, they actually don't get many failures, so hopefully someone will get a chance to send up another.

    But its interesting to see that they got a few signals from the thing, but haven't heard from it since...

    D
     
  25. JupiterTwo macrumors 6502

    JupiterTwo

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    #25
    Yeah - I'm still hanging on the hope that it's in an elipical orbit, hence why they're having trouble contacting it. The Russians seem pretty keen on it being down, but with two seperate teams getting glimpses of telemetry data, you never know. Mind you, it depends on how good an orbit it's got into, and whether they can stabalise it enough to deploy :(
     

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