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.
Miners! NASA Wants To License RASSOR Excavator
'The borers had been dismantled and packed away.'
Bee+ Robobee Now With Four Wings
'It was a tiny thing, scarcely more than an inch and a half in length...'
CNSILK Robotic Spider Builder
'We could certainly spin a web right through the Solar System, if we can think of a good use for one.'
Starshade Will Help Space Telescope To Search For Exoplanets
'When it found planetary systems in its field, automatically shifted upon them a higher powered telespectroscope ...'
Tiny LEDs Developed For Dust-Sized Computers
'They use sparkles to talk to each other...'
Is There Extraterrestrial Life Here In The Solar System
'How fast is it moving? ...one meter per minute.'
Can We Comprehend Deep Learning Systems?
'Youíve nothing remotely like it, so I canít describe it to you.'
Skin Electronics Can Show Electrocardiogram
'... the young men in the streets who applied polyimde OLED body film to their bared shoulders.'
Chinese Fern Helps Remediate Arsenic Soil
'Bioengeering had put out a spec report on the long crawly things five months back.'
Skai Air Taxi Costs The Same As Uber
'The air-taxi found its way past and around other ground-cars...'
Neurodevices For Consumers? Neuroethicists (And Philip K Dick) Say 'Caveat Emptor'
'They tried to use it today and it wouldn't work. No colors and no ceph patterns, neither one...'
NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge Won By AI SpaceFactory
3D printing - on Mars!
The Future Of Elon Musk's Neuralink
'Cerebral Electromagnetic Emmission Amplification and Relay System ó call it artificial telepathy, if you like.'
Researchers Make You Say Anything in Videos
'[It] caused his televised image... to mouth the vowels and consonants beautifully.'
Jeff Bezos Tries Waldoes (Robotic Hands)
'Waldo put his arms into the primary pair before him...'
Asimov and Musk - Boring Company Tunnel vs. Street Race
'There was almost no sound, just a steady velvety whirr as the taxi sped along.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories