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Solar Sail Experiment Demonstrates ‘Flight by Light’ – Voice of America

Solar Sail Experiment Demonstrates ‘Flight by Light’ – Voice of America

A major demonstration in solar sailing has been declared a success by the organization that launched the experiment. The U.S.-based Planetary Society said this week its LightSail 2 spacecraft successfully used sunlight to orbit Earth. The trip was the highest performing solar sail demonstration to date. Solar sailing is a method that can push a…

A critical demonstration in photo voltaic crusing has been declared a success by the group that launched the experiment.

The U.S.-basically based totally Planetary Society acknowledged this week its LightSail 2 spacecraft efficiently old sunlight hours to orbit Earth. The time out became as soon as the absolute top performing photo voltaic skim demonstration up to now.

Assure voltaic crusing is a approach that can presumably push a automobile thru location. A spacecraft is hooked up to a photo voltaic skim to capture wind stress from sunlight hours. Light is made up of particles called photons. Photons themselves discontinue not enjoy any mass. But after they scuttle thru location, they can form stress as a drive for lumber.

LightSail 2 is a little spacecraft that weighs about five kilograms. It became as soon as designed by the Planetary Society, a not-for-profit crew. It launched into orbit in June from a rocket built by American skills company SpaceX.

“Here’s a genuinely entertaining day for us, and for me in my conception,” Planetary Society chief Bill Nye acknowledged in an announcement in regards to the experiment. “This theory that it’s likely you’ll presumably also fly a spacecraft with nothing however photons is dazzling, and for me, it be very romantic that you simply’ll be crusing on sunbeams.”

The mission crew acknowledged it had confirmed that sunlight hours became as soon as accountable for transferring the spacecraft to an orbital excessive point of about two kilometers. It became as soon as the first time photo voltaic propulsion became as soon as efficiently demonstrated in Earth’s orbit.

But the skills has been tested before. In 2010, Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Company launched a spacecraft called IKAROS. The agency old a photo voltaic skim to propel the craft previous Venus and into orbit round the sun.

The Planetary Society deployed its first photo voltaic skim in 2015. The LightSail 1 demonstration efficiently launched a photo voltaic skim before re-coming into Earth’s ambiance per week later.

LightSail 2 is a $7 million mission paid for by Planetary Society contributors, to boot to voters who donated to a varied campaign.

The goal of LightSail 2 is to issue that photo voltaic sails would maybe be old to propel little satellites called CubeSats. These little satellites can carry scientific instruments worship cameras. One other main goal is to examine the flexibility of sunlight hours to propel spacecraft without the need for dear rocket gasoline.

Bill Nye acknowledged LightSail 2’s success might presumably also initiate the door to future location scuttle potentialities utilizing photo voltaic crusing skills. One time out might presumably also encompass Nye’s interior most goal: utilizing photo voltaic skim spacecraft to carry gives to Mars. He acknowledged future missions might presumably also additionally “look for signs of life and exchange the route of human historical previous.”

Nye added: “Role exploration brings out the right in us.”

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, in accordance to reports from the Planetary Society, Reuters and VOA News. became as soon as the editor.

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Words in This Story

photon n. a genuinely little share of topic that is the main unit of electromagnetic energy

romantic adj. entertaining and mysterious

sunbeam n. a beam of sunshine from the sun

propulsion n. the drive produced by a machine for transferring, or propelling, a automobile or varied object

mission n. a critical activity, on the entire difficult scuttle

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