Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Ikaros Solar Sail Works!

The Ikaros solar sail, developed by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), is now receiving a speed boost from light radiated from the sun.

"The small solar power sail demonstrator 'Ikaros,' which successfully deployed its solar sail, was confirmed to accelerate by [the] solar sail receiving solar pressure," JAXA officials said in a July 9 update. "This proved that the Ikaros has generated the biggest acceleration through photon during interplanetary flight in history."

The effect stems from the cumulative push of light photons striking the solar sail. When measured together, it adds up to a small continuous thrust that does not require fuel use by the Ikaros craft.


(Ikaros solar sail deployed [more at space.com])

Science fiction fans remember the light sail from Jack Vance's excellent 1962 short story Sail 25 and the interstellar starlight sail from Cordwainer Smith's 1960 story The Lady Who Sailed The Soul.

Johannes Kepler speculated that comets' tails are bent by the sun's action in his 1619 book Opera Omnia. Newton thought it was possible that light would exert pressure on material bodies. The existence of light pressure was demonstrated in theory by James Clerk Maxwell in 1873. Laboratory experiments confirming the theory were performed in 1910 by P.N. Lebedev, a Russian physicist, who overcame great difficulties in measuring the 4.7 x 10-6 N/m2 pressure of noon sunlight here on Earth. In the 1920's, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and Fridrich Tsander wrote about "using tremendous mirrors of very thin sheets... using the pressure of sunlight to attain cosmic velocities."

The first mention of solar sails in a science fiction publication was not in a story; it occurred in the May 1951 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. Carl Wiley published an article called "Clipper Ships of Space."

Via Tariq Malik at Space.com.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/13/2010)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

SpaceX Starship A Giant Space Telescope?
'He used the great telescope which was built into the main axis of the ship...' - Max Valier, 1931.

Space Traffic Management (STM) Needs Action
'Approaching Earth, he called over the patrol frequency and asked for a parking orbit...' - Robert Heinlein, 1941.

Is A Hollow Rotating Asteroid Habitat Practical?
'Inside, the centrifugal force gives an acceleration just equal to one earth gravity...'- John W. Campbell, 1932.

Wandering Sunless Planets Seen By Kepler Telescope
'...the rocky barrenness of a wandering sunless planet.' - Isaac Asimov, 1946.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

GIDE AI Tools 'See Days In Advance'
'what will go on here in the next half hour...'

Hundreds Of Covid-Catching AI Tools - None Help
'Plagues had been known to slay too rapidly and universally to be checked by human treatment.'

Robot Snakes Now With Partitioned Gait
'The coil on the table appeared to be a snake...'

Will The Super Bowl Go To Pay Per View?
'...this afternoonís football game cost each person who had one of the television screens one dollar for the privilege.'

Force Fields Of Directed Energy Wanted By USAF
'The downrushing bombs bounced off the cone-curtain of light as though from an invisible rubber wall.'

Israel Okays Third Covid Shot For Seniors
'All the vaccination shots up and down his arms, on his thighs and buttocks...'

Tesla Vs... Domino's? The Race For Autonomous Vehicles
'...some bored drone pusher in a remote driving centre has got your life - and half a dozen other lives - in his hands.'

SpaceX Starship A Giant Space Telescope?
'He used the great telescope which was built into the main axis of the ship...'

Florida Man Felt Harassed By Drone, Shoots It Down
'...a kid bounced a missile off a golden ball.'

Watch A Man Swallow A Robot
These just keep getting better.

Space Traffic Management (STM) Needs Action
'Approaching Earth, he called over the patrol frequency and asked for a parking orbit...'

Boring Company Bricks Predicted In 1929
'... used to make building blocks for these invaders.'

Hovering F-22 Raptor Predicted in 1929 (Sort Of)
'... it was so easy for me to remain motionless in midair.'

Musk Claims Sublimity For Future Summon Feature
'Once we move summon... to a single FSD stack, it will be sublime.'

Is A Hollow Rotating Asteroid Habitat Practical?
'Inside, the centrifugal force gives an acceleration just equal to one earth gravity...'

AirCar Completes Flight, Transforms Into Groundcar
'... straight ahead stood a row of transparent objects that had to be the air-cars.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.