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See the News Archive for older news items. See Help:News for information on adding news items. Use the "RSS" and "Atom" links in the "Toolbox" on the left side to subscribe to this new feed.



Planetary Society planning 3-mission solar sail project

The Planetary Society announced the project LightSail to fly three solar sails of increasing size and complexity over the next several years. An anonymous donor provided funding for the missions, which will begin with LightSail-1, a 3-meter square sail deployed from a 10x10x30cm Cubesat. This is similar to NASA's NanoSail-D. LightSail-2 will be larger and have increased sailing ability out of Earth orbit. LightSail-3 is intended to sail to the sun-Earth L1 Lagrange point and monitor the solar wind for geomagnetic storm forecasting. The Planetary Society previously attempted to test fly a solar sail in the Cosmos 1 mission.

Other coverage:

--Ben 15:15, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

IKAROS papers presented at the 27th International Symposium on Space Technology and Science

Several papers on the IKAROS solar sail mission and Japan's solar sail research in general were presented at the 27th International Symposium on Space Technology and Science and made available. Links to these papers are available on the IKAROS page. --Ben 15:11, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Space Politics: A call for reviving NIAC

Space Politics story on a report by the National Research Council on the effectiveness of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC). The report recommends resinstatment of the program. NIAC, closed in 2007, funded revolutionary aeronautics and space concepts, including solar sails and related technologies. --Ben 19:59, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Crunch Gear: They now use solar technology to propel satellites

Crunch Gear story on JAXA's IKAROS solar sail project. Also see JAXA's Japanese language summary of the project:

--Ben 20:02, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

The Times Online: 'Sailing' spacecraft could keep watch on Earth's polar regions

A Times Online story about polar observation and space weather applications of solar sails in artificial Lagrange orbits from a talk by Prof. Colin R. McInnes at the British Science Festival in Guildford. --Ben 14:30, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Update: The Guardian also carried the story:

--Ben 19:28, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

StarTalk Radio Show: What's Exploration Worth?

StarTalk page. Louis Friedman, director of the Planetary Society, joins Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye to discuss the value of space exploration. Solar sails are discussed at about the 46 minute mark. --Ben 17:55, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Discover: The Elegant Way to Save Earth From Asteroid Destruction

Discover blog. Discussion about using gravity tractors to deflect asteroids, including Prof. Bong Wie's proposal to use solar sails as the tractors. --Ben 15:35, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

MIT Technology Review: the physics arXiv blog: Relativistic Navigation Needed for Solar Sails

MIT Technology Review blog page. Discussion about the challenges of navigating a solar sail on a high speed escape from the solar system due to relativistic effects. --Ben 14:13, 8 September 2009 (UTC) First Solar Sail Might Soon Fly article. Story about the possible flight of NASA's spare NanoSail-D sail as a Planetary Society project. --Ben 14:31, 12 August 2009 (UTC) Ann Druyan: How to Sail Beyond the Moon Landings article. Ann Druyan discusses the future of space exploration, including solar sailing. --Ben 19:36, 13 July 2009 (UTC) 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." --Ben 12:00, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

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. --Ben 12:00, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Solar Sail Update: New Opportunities

Update on The Planetary Society's solar sail activities. From Space Travel. Also see: The Planetary Society --Ben 12:00, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Review of Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel

Review of the book posted on The Space Review. SolarSailWiki article: Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel --Ben 12:00, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

MESSENGER to flyby Mercury 2nd time October 6th

MESSENGER Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab page. MESSENGER used solar pressure to correct the trajectory without using propellant. The multimedia page shows how solar sailing reduced the flyby target size. --Ben 12:00, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

MESSENGER Sails on Sun's Fire for Second Flyby of Mercury

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab press release. --Ben 12:00, 5 September 2008 (UTC)