This website contains information on solar sailing, an old idea but a new technology for moving around and doing things in space. Solar sails are very large and lightweight mirrors that are pushed through space by sunlight. Traditionally, spacecraft have used rockets or thrusters, which propel material in one direction to travel in the other. To learn more, take a look through the sections listed below.
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- May 27, 2009 Space.com: Promising New Space Engines are Opening the Solar System - ESA video on advanced propulsion: "Electric ion engines; plasma drives, slingshot-style gravitational-assist maneuvers; ultra-light super-strong solar sails and other innovations are driving exploration forward beyond reliance on chemical rockets."
- May 5, 2009 The Atlantic: Across the Universe - an article about The Planetary Society's efforts to fly another solar sail demonstration mission - Cosmos 2. Their previous attempt, Cosmos 1, suffered a launch vehicle failure.
- April 3, 2009 Solar Sail Update: New Opportunities from Space Travel. Update on The Planetary Society's solar sail activities.
- October 6, 2008 Review of Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel on The Space Review
- October 1, 2008 MESSENGER to flyby Mercury 2nd time October 6th. MESSENGER used solar pressure to correct the trajectory without using propellant. The multimedia page shows how solar sailing reduced the flyby target size.
- September 5, 2008 MESSENGER Sails on Sun’s Fire for Second Flyby of Mercury