Ikaros Solar Sail Craft Photo Of Venus
A photo of Venus taken by the solar sail-powered craft Ikaros has been released by JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The picture shows a crescent-shaped planet Venus, and the cords and solar sail of Ikaros in the foreground (see JAXA photo below).
(JAXA photo of Venus by Ikaros)
"It is proof that the solar-sail powered craft, once thought to be in the realm of science fiction, has reached Venus," said JAXA.
The Ikaros craft was launched in May last year. After deploying its 14-square-meter resin film sail, the craft began moving using the minute pressure exerted on the sail by the sun's rays. Using liquid-crystal devices on the sail to make adjustments to the ratio of incoming and reflecting light on different parts of the sail, Ikaros has successfully been able to steer its direction, accelerate and decelerate. It has traveled around 500 million kilometers and is continuing to take measurements with devices on the sail that should help reveal the distribution of cosmic dust.
Currently, Ikaros orbits the Sun once every 10 months, and in five years it will pass near Earth.
Although the idea of a solar sail is not original to sf writers (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"), 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.
Learn more about Ikaros, as well as other JAXA projects, like the Try Zero-G project, the Space Toilet Diaper and the Space Fireworks program.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/26/2011)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )
Related News Stories -
Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.
Used Dragon Cargo Spacecraft Will Fly Again
'the overstrained meters made the smaller craft skittish as a young horse...' - Robert Heinlein
Laser-Powered Spacecraft To Explore The Solar System
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon... for about forty-five years, so the intruder would have a beam to travel on...'- Niven/Pournelle, 1974.
SKYLON Space Plane Gets Boost
'They were more airplane than spaceship...'- Robert Heinlein, 1951.
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.
Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'
You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'
Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'
Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.
Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.
Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'
First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.
VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'
Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.
Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...
Galini 3D Printed Sleeping Pod Tiny Houses
'The houses are prefabricated units...'
MIT Boffins Create Psychopath AI On Purpose
There's a lesson in this for neural net AI engineers everywhere.
Skin Electronics 3D Printed
'June's body is a tracery of lambent lines, like some arcane capillary circuitry...'
Artificial Sensory Neurons For Prosthetics, Robots
Great for humans and robots!
China Uses Artificial Intelligence To Grade Student Papers
Looks like the City Fathers are starting to take over China's education system.
Electronic Tongues Will Rule The Kitchen
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories