A solar sail spacecraft: running with the
"wind", refers to the direction of the sun
Chinese solar sail successfully opened in the experiment
Below in June 2005, as a result of rocket engine malfunction spacecraft failed to enter orbit, a solar sail spacecraft "number one" the universe the experiment failed This is the first candidate interstellar travel fantasy technology, it needs no fuel, and compared with "antimatter engines", "nuclear propulsion technology" concept, it is the most close to human technical level now...
Big year for the first time, interstellar travel is expected to be!The United States called Planetary Society (The Planetary Society) fans organization announced at The end of January this year, The first test flight in May "LightSail" solar sail
spacecraft, it will be in cape canaveral, Florida, carrying The universe god V rocket.If the test is successful, the follow-up of the same type spacecraft will try to fly out of the solar system.
To meet the challenge of LightSail, points A, B two stars.A star god first experiment, main is to test your attitude control and communications, not yet A star trek.And 2016 B star, will try to walk away.Two tasks costs $4.5 million.
First try "water" in the atmosphere
Planetary society said: for up to four weeks of testing, the LightSail can't fly out of the atmosphere, but try to control, monitor the sail, the image back to the ground. Fired up the sail, is satellite the size of a loaf of bread.Expands into four triangular membrane, Mosaic a square sail.If all goes well, the LightSail will try to open after a few days, adjust the attitude, and back to the data.
Planetary society, said the second test flight is scheduled for 2016.Spacecraft will be installed on the Georgia institute of technology developed by Prox - 1 satellite, by ferry falcon heavy rocket launched into orbit 720 kilometers away from the ground, fly in outer space.Will release the LightSail ProX - 1 satellite, will also monitor it parked nearby.
The sun also is to have the pressure
Great Kepler 400 years ago, you mentioned: the sun alone can walk in space.And maxwell's theory in the 1870 s, points out the truth of this fantasy.Maxwell: light is
Indeed, while photons without quality, but have the momentum, momentum transfer out can take it.Have accepted the oppression of the sun, the sunshine, feel less than just strength is too small.Maxwell's theory, 30 years later, scientists had to measure the pressure.
Russian rocket pioneer qi ORR mikhail khodorkovsky, and his colleagues Thornton in 1921 put forward "with exposure to the very thin sunlight on a huge mirror for the speed of the universe."Thornton said, solar sails should be wrapped in hard plastic on ultra-thin metal sails.In the 1950 s a large number of articles to discuss solar sails.In the 1970 s, due to a technical and film manufacturing progress, a solar sail began to experiment.In the 1990 s, countries have done some experiments. Solar sails reflection photon, which in turn photon push the sail.The sun the hotter the pressure, the greater the near the sun, per square metre to accept the pressure, the gravity of the equivalent of three one yuan coin, and by the sunshine of thin edge of the solar system, each square meter of the weight of the pressure is only a feather.
Big and light didn't up to it
Shine a solar sail, fabrics, like foil.It is plated on a layer of aluminum material of polyester thin film.
Polyester film is unusual, but the sail thin unusual, only 100 atoms thick.Chain, cable and rod are carbon fiber composite materials.After filling itself is very light, to
erect, hard as steel.
Raise your giant can ship.The sail and the bigger the better.In yu-yan liu and others to write the developable solar sail technology overview, said that if the sail diameter of 300 meters, 340 Newton's pressure can be obtained.To 0.5 tons of spacecraft in the 200 days to fly to Mars.If the diameter of 2000 metres, can make the 5 tons of spacecraft launched the solar system.
One theory is that 2% of the maximum speed is the speed of light, solar sail theory which is 6000 kilometers per second.Now, however, scientists can hope for is a large solar sail voyage to reach 60 kilometers per second, which is 4 to 6 times the current record.If true, then the sail will strides to fly toward the constellation Sagittarius.
Must have perfect reflector
Solar sail lightly, not only have to have perfect reflector, than the person's face is smooth, a touch namely play let photons.It can be difficult.A crumpled package, become strong perfect mirror, for manufacturing technology is very demanding. Is a big trouble.Scientists have come up with some good idea, someone put forward using stress automatically after folding, no machinery;Filled is advanced, has been widely adopted.Attitude control is difficult to, practice, use a small solar sails to adjust the large sail toward.
Laser, lens increasing light intensity
In the 2002 Disney animated film "the silver star island, launched a solar sail, in space as the best of the era of large Marine Ge flow.
Of the solar sail appeared in many science fiction, is the first candidate technologies of interstellar travel fantasy, because it does not need fuel.And than "antimatter engines""nuclear propulsion technology" concept, it is the most close to human technical level now.NASA had envisaged, in order to fly out of the solar system, can make the sail lighter and more big, and the appropriate placement of the solar system on the laser, and lens, increase according to the light intensity on the solar sail.
It is worth mentioning that there is a concept called "solar wind" propeller, it goes with a solar sail are two different things.Solar wind thrusters keep ionized gas, producing a magnetic ball layer, like a hot air balloon to capture the solar wind, the sun of 300 kilometers per second of charged particles, thereby gaining momentum.Scientists think it can make 100 kg propeller, three months per second over 50 km.
The international competition
Japan is currently leading the United States
In addition to the LightSail, has a solar sail spacecraft launch.The leading Japanese, it's a solar sail spacecraft has overshot the Venus.In May 2010, the Japan's successful test flight kite-shaped sails solar spacecraft, it through a sail with the sunlight pressure as power.At present, the ship has overshot the Venus, continue to fly to the sun.
It is interesting to note that kite-shaped sails spacecraft made from the solar wind power, is the "wind".Actually be in sailing against the wind day "curve", as long as
the sails and direction adjustment is appropriate.A solar sail can blow to the sun is in the same way.
Japan was planning in 10 years, and then launch a solar sail ship, integrated solar sail and ion propulsion, fly to Jupiter.
Over the same period of kite-shaped sails, NASA has launched "nano sails - D" satellite, it successfully in low-earth orbit spread a little sails, but can not be used in flight.NASA plans a solar sail spacecraft, called "Sunjammer" was originally scheduled for launch in 2015.But after the technical review, NASA indefinitely delayed the project.
The United States government and military has also proposed a solar sail plan, by adjusting the inclination Angle, let the sun sail the ship sailed towards the sun, 1.5 million kilometers, to monitor the sun geomagnetic storm.
In addition to providing power, solar sail, a more realistic use is to adjust aircraft attitude, to save fuel.
America's space enthusiasts organization "planetary society" in collaboration with Russia, in 2005 launched the "1" the universe, it is also the LightSail predecessor.It take from the Barents sea submarines on the rocket.Originally "1" the universe should be after a successful landing, but go, thought to be a rocket separation and analysis of the failure that it didn't.
The non-profit organization's ambitions
Based on Internet is introduced: "planetary society is a non-governmental,
non-profit widely supported larger institutions, mainly related to astronomy. Founded in 1980, the founder's Bruce Murray, Louis friedman, Carl sagan, with members from 125 countries."
In "The Planetary Society's home page," strikingly write their slogan: "you this is Space (Your Place is Space)".Outside, they appear all sorts of blog posts, photos, video space technology.
The community itself, its aim is "to encourage the citizens of the world to promote space science and exploration".
The planetary society already has more than one million members, who can join, but registered as members on the net, paying $500 in annual dues.Although civil organizations, but NASA planetary society also support.They called on members to write to the U.S. congress, increasing NASA's budget, and stop the congress to knock out the NASA several projects.
Whether LightSail would like the universe one teacher not jie, planetary society successful fund-raising toward space has won praise around the world.Aerospace industry is driven by interest;In NASA official efficiency reviled, it appeared to ferry companies, let a person find everything new and fresh;And the "organization" on Mars, is also a Dutch company.Perhaps the first humans to Mars will be the lovers!Master in folk.