August 11, 2004
~ What Do You Do with a Solar Sailor Earl-eye in the Morning ~
Posted by scott at August 11, 2004 09:04 AM
Spaceflightnow is carrying this story summarizing the latest news in NASA's effort to create a functioning solar sail. Seems like they've managed to successfully deploy two scale models in large vacuum chambers. While modest, the progress is significant. The technology uses the solar wind itself to move spacecraft from place to place, and promises to do away with chemical rockets completely.
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but we'd still need the chemical rockets to at least get into space. From there, we could use the solar sail.
Also, haven't seen anything, but what do they do during a solar flare or other major disturbance such as that? Is it a furl sails and hope for the best scenario? And not that we're working on this yet, but how about traveling to the next solar system? Is there enough solar wind out there to make that happen?
Just asking (damn cable modem is down and research online sucks right now)...