Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"There's no point in making a mistake unless you understand the mistake so that you donít make it again."
- Alfred Bester

Solar Yacht  
  A space craft whose motive power is light pressure on a solar sail.  

But Merton knew better: though his body could feel no thrust, the instrument board told him that he was no accelerating at almost one thousandth of a gravity. For a rocket, that figure would have been ludicrous - but this was the first time any solar yacht had ever attained it...


(Sunjammer from Boy's Life)

From Sunjammer, by Arthur C. Clarke.
Published by Boy's Life in 1964
Additional resources -

Here's a bit more:

...a solar flare.

The cloud of electrified gas would probably miss the Earth completely... Spaceships could protect themselves with their powerful magnetic screens; but the lightly built solar yachts, with their paper thin walls, were defenseless against such a menace...

The autopilot, tensioning the rigging like a busy little spider, kept the great sail trimmed to the Sun more accurately than any human pilot.

The idea for a solar yacht probably came from scientist JD Bernal, who wrote the following in 1929:

"A form of space sailing might be developed which used the repulsive effect of the Sun's rays instead of wind. A space vessel spreading its large, metallic wings, acres in extent, to the full, might be blown to the limit of Neptune's orbit. Then, to increase its speed, it would tack, close-hauled, down the gravitational field, spreading full sail again as it rushed past the Sun."

Earlier efforts to describe solar sailing in science fiction include the light sail from Jack Vance's 1962 short story Sail 25 (see this article for more on the subject) and the starlight sail from The Lady Who Sailed The Soul (1960) by Cordwainer Smith.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Sunjammer
  More Ideas and Technology by Arthur C. Clarke
  Tech news articles related to Sunjammer
  Tech news articles related to works by Arthur C. Clarke

Solar Yacht-related news articles:
  - LightSail Solar Sail Deploys

Articles related to Space Tech
Caihong Solar-Powered Drone 'Atmospheric Satellite'
NASA Wants Low Earth Orbit Wifi
The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
Pent-Up NASA Scientists Simulate Life On Mars

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

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.

 

 

 

 

More News

PassivDom 3D Printed House - What If You Could Live Anywhere?
'The houses are prefabricated units...'

Caihong Solar-Powered Drone 'Atmospheric Satellite'
'... placed in the wings of a plane to generate power from the light falling on that surface.'

NASA Wants Low Earth Orbit Wifi
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'

Is Genetic Testing At Businesses A Bad Idea?
It's not a topic that fares well in science fiction movies-

Wearable Smart Jacket
He pressed the button in his sleeve communicator and snapped: 'Action stations!'

Store One Bit On One Atom
'...each individual molecule has a meaning.'

Fluorescent Bacteria Fashion
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'

Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.