LightSail And Tech Like It Could Give Space Travel A Boost
LightSail is a proof-of-concept solar sail from The Planetary Society. It's the latest of several tests of solar propulsion technology.By Evan Thomas | May 20, 2015
The latest advances in spaceflight are taking their cues from ancient technology. The nonprofit Planetary Society is preparing to test LightSail, a fuel-less solar sail.
Despite its name, a solar sail doesn't use the charged particles of the solar wind. Instead it catches the tiny but constant pressure of photons — the light itself — to build up speed.
"Sunlight, or light, even though it has no mass, has momentum. So it can push these things through space. It’s a really extraordinary idea," CEO Bill Nye said. (Video via The Planetary Society)