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What work is being done towards the development of a Solar Sail?

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There has been a recent development in the work towards making a Solar Sail – the use of the tiny force of each photon for propulsion. The effect, first shown in simulations, was proven by showing it in action on tiny glass rods (see timelapse photograph on the left).

Like the aerofoil concept of wings, the approach, published in Nature Photonics, works by making use of the radiation pressure of light.

The results are of interest for steering “solar sails”, a spacecraft propulsion based on the same force.

More here: Http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11927793

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