Most asteroid diversion schemes tend to involve some kind of impact – an explosion, a crash, a violent shove – but a French researcher has proposed an intriguing plan to alter the course of the asteroid Apophis before it swings into Earth’s neighborhood in 2036: offer the asteroid some shade. A fleet of solar sail spacecraft could shift Aphophis’s course by simply shielding it from solar radiation, the researcher says.
Last week's launch of NanoSail-D – NASA's solar sailing nanosatellite that was reportedly launched from the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite (FASTSAT) last week – may not have gone as well as initially thought. In fact, it may not have happened at all.
Never mind using the solar wind to power spacecraft — that's old hat. Scientists at Washington State University want to use solar wind to power the entire world. A humongous solar sail could be used to harvest the power of solar winds, generating 1 billion billion gigawatts of electricity.
In orbit, debris as small as a metal screw can cripple a vehicle or kill an astronaut. Here are five ideas for cleaning up the growing band of trash circling Earth
By David KushnerPosted 07.13.2010 at 10:05 am 1 Comment
One Friday last November, the six astronauts onboard the International Space Station received an urgent warning from mission control: Watch out for space junk. A piece of orbital debris, possibly a chunk of satellite, was hurtling toward the station. A direct hit could break through the hull. The crew prepped for escape.
It’s sink or sail time for Japan’s IKAROS spacecraft, and according to initial reports from JAXA the unfurling of the first solar sail deployed for actual deep space travel went off without a hitch.
But the successful sail deployment isn’t a guarantee of success. IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun) still has to get moving, and mission handlers say in their blog posts today that it will be a few weeks before we know if the sail is really working the way it is supposed to.
After lots of talk and testing, Japanese researchers are ready to go space sailing. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced its intention to launch its first "space yacht" propelled by solar sails into the heavens on May 18. Ikaros -- the Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun -- will cruise through the solar system powered by solar particles that bounce of its giant, ultra-thin sails.
A tiny spacecraft measuring less than a foot in length is the first designed to end its own life by using a solar sail as an orbital brake. Putting itself through the fiery atmospheric plunge would let it avoid becoming part of the growing cloud of space debris surrounding Earth, New Scientist. You seeing this, DARPA?