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Last Post 3/24/2021 4:23 PM by  Christina Cohen
solar sails
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3/22/2021 8:40 AM
    [from Answer Garden]

    Hi, How effective would solar sails be?
    Tags: solar sails
    Terry Kucera
    Basic Member
    Posts:328 Basic Member

    3/24/2021 1:06 PM
    Hi. Just because we study the Sun does not mean we know much about solar sails! It has been a couple days, though, and no-one has replied, so I will just say that the interesting thing for me related to solar sails is that they could give us the ability to be spacecraft in different locations and orbits than we can now.

    At this point we usually have to have the spacecraft orbiting around a planet or the sun, but a solar sail might make it possible to just "sit" over the poles of the Sun or a planet.

    That could be a very useful place to be if you wanted to study the Sun's poles, for instance.
    That sort of capability probably won't be available very soon though.

    A little more information:

    Pat Reiff
    New Member
    Posts:83 New Member

    3/24/2021 1:17 PM
    The cool thing about a solar sail is that you can use the radiation pressure of sunlight and the pressure of the solar wind to help your spacecraft go where you want it to go. What I would love to have a solar sail do would be to be able to reduce the sun's pull of gravity so we can have a spacecraft "upstream" in the solar wind so we can measure the flow of particles and the direction of the solar wind magnetic field well before it hits Earth. Right now we get about 45 minutes of warning of dangerous solar wind ( but it would be much better to have 4 hours of warning instead, and that can only be done with a solar sail to keep the monitor upstream of the Earth.
    Christina Cohen
    Basic Member
    Posts:148 Basic Member

    3/24/2021 4:23 PM
    Actually NASA just selected a small 'technology demonstration' mission that is going to test/use a solar sail, called Solar Cruiser. It is expected to launch in ~2024-2025.

    You can read some about it here:
    and here
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