A few days later, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy missile will get out of Florida carrying a bread-sized satellite with nothing to feed it, but a huge polyester "sunblind".
For decades these were the dreams of scientists, but it has just become a reality. , but instead the absorption of the inertia of light energy packages known as photons ̵
But the very idea was much longer than that.
In the 1600s, Johannes Kepler talked about sailing between stars, "Bill Nay, chief executive of the Planetary Society, told AFP.
Kepler theorized that sailing and ships "can be adapted to the breeze of the sky" and "it turns out there really is." It's not just poetry, "said Naj, who is known in the US as" Science Guy " a show of children that brought him national fame in the 1990s and now hosts the Netflix program. Essentially, this is a large square of a very thin film (less than the width of human hair), which is also ultra-bright and reflective.
It has an area of 32 square meters and is produced by Mylar, a polyester brand that has been on the market since 1950.
As photons bounce off canvas, they transfer their inertia in the opposite direction of
bigger and brighter and smaller the mass of the spacecraft, the bigger the shot, "explains Naj.
The traction provided by these photons is small – but it is also unlimited. "Once in orbit, you will never run out of fuel," he said.
Japan's space agency launched a solar canal in 2010 called Icarus, but others failed to fully test the concept.
] "This is a romantic idea whose time has finally come," Nay said. "We hope this technology will get infected."
LightSail 2 costs $ 7 million, which is a relative shortage in the space mission. It is planned to remain in orbit for one year and represents a more definitive proof of the concept.
"We want to democratize space exploration," enthused Most, which invited universities and businesses to start working on technology. Solar arrays, then unfold the four triangular parts of his canvas, which together form a giant square.
For this demonstration, solar panels will provide energy for other satellite functions such as photography and terrestrial communications.
The Earth will begin to increase its altitude due to the pressure of solar radiation on canvas.
So, what do we see in the technology that is being used in the near future? exploration of the cosmos. Although it starts much slower than a fuel-powered spacecraft, it will continue to accelerate constantly through space, ultimately achieving breathtaking speeds.
Another application will be in maintaining a probe at a stationary point in the space that will require corrections. to be done infinitely. For example, a telescope that looks at asteroids near Earth or a satellite that has to be fixed in a fixed orbit above the North Pole.
"You will need a huge amount of rocket fuel to maintain steady, it's simply not practical," Nye said.
Photons, on the other hand, are unlimited.
As a bonus, the scientist said, "You can see it from the ground, with the naked eye.
LightSail 2 will be released next month on SpaceX Falcon Heavy
© 2019 AFP
Flying In The Stars: How Photons Can Revolutionize the Space Flight (2019, June 20)
drawn up on 20 June 2019
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