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Japanese Spacecraft Successfully Deploys First Solar Sail in Space
Posted By Cameron Scott On June 10, 2010 @ 1:45 pm In Green Transportation,Renewable Energy,Solar Power | 6 Comments
Believers in extraterrestrial life cheered today as the Japanese space agency, JAXA , successfully unfurled a solar sail in space for the first time. Solar sails offer the best hope for deep space exploration because they eliminate the need to carry fuel. Deploying them is no easy task — given, you know, the whole lack of gravity thing — but this morning’s action  went off without a hitch.
The Japanese spacecraft IKAROS created centrifugal force by spinning, allowing it to launch the .0003-inch-thick sail. While deployment is a challenge in a zero gravity environment, spacecraft — unlike airplanes  — don’t have to contend with drag, so with each photon of light that hits the sail, the spacecraft could gather speed. The sail isn’t yet propelling IKAROS; that will be the true measure of the mission’s success.
Via Wired 
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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/japanese-spacecraft-successfully-deploys-first-solar-sail-in-space/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://inhabitat.com/2010/06/10/japanese-spacecraft-successfully-deploys-first-solar-sail-in-space/solar-sail-deployed/
 JAXA: http://www.jaxa.jp/index_e.html
 this morning’s action: http://inhabitat.com/2010/05/20/japan-launching-worlds-first-solar-powered-spacecraft-today/
 Image: http://inhabitat.com/2010/06/10/japanese-spacecraft-successfully-deploys-first-solar-sail-in-space/ikaros-2/
 airplanes: http://inhabitat.com/2010/04/07/solar-impulse-plane-takes-first-successful-flight/
 reason: http://www.planetary.org/programs/
 Wired: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/06/solar-sail-deployment/
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