Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Solar sail gets ready for launch

A solar sail spacecraft launches on Tuesday, to demonstrate an elegant new way to power interplanetary probes.

The Cosmos-1 mission is privately funded - half the money will come from a TV studio - and lift-off will be from a Russian submarine in the Barents Sea.

The sail reflects particles of light, or photons, from the Sun, gaining momentum in the opposite direction and driving the spacecraft forward.

Some think solar sails offer a cheaper, faster form of spacecraft propulsion.

Hard to believe this could be profitable in the foreseeable future; but it is too cool for words.

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