Solar Sail? Yes, you can use light to propel your ship into the space void


The physics behind light sailing is well established and it’s been already tested numerous times. Usually when you send a satellite into space you will notice that its trajectory is not exactly as calculates because the light that hits it imparts a minor, albeit noticeable over millions of miles, effect.

That small nudge the light gives to the satellite is generated by the fact that light has momentum which can be transferred to the objects upon contact. Light does not have rest mass, but it has a mass due to its movement.

This is why, as Michel van Biezen expalins above, you can currently create a solar sail and use it to navigate around the solar system. You’d need a sail that has at least 100 square meters in order to make a 500kg ship move with 1m/s în about 3.2 days. The more days exposed to the Sun, the more speed it gains.

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