sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Sailing space to discover new worlds
Sailing space to discover new worlds


'Space sailing - coming to a world near you'    .

Sailing boats have always been the modus operandi for humans discovering new worlds across the sea and it seems as though that's also how we shall discover new worlds across space.

Or at least that's what the physicists are predicting, affirming that giant sails propelled by the sun's or a laser's energy are still the most viable option for interstellar spaceflight in the not-too-distant future.

James Benford, a physicist associated with Icarus Interstellar, a non-profit group devoted to finding a way to travel to another star system, said this again during a panel at the Starship Congress conference in August.

Large and lightweight sails could allow unmanned probes to travel interstellar distances within a somewhat reasonable time frame, Benford said.

Rockets won't do the job 'because we haven't gotten fusion yet,' Benford said. 'Beyond that is antimatter rockets that suffer not only from a very difficult design problem, but the absence of the fuel.'

That leaves sail ships. 'I would say that I think sail ships are going to be the first starships, because we know how to do it,' Benford said.

A solar sail in space works almost like a ship sailing on the seas. Engineers can use photons emitted by a star to both propel and steer a spacecraft.

Benford also has been working with laser technology to gather more information about how to propel sails outside the solar system using a 'beamer.' The structure would use lasers, or perhaps microwaves, directed on the sail to push it ever farther into deep space.

An extremely lightweight 62-mile-wide (100 kilometers) sail unfurled close to the sun could make an interstellar voyage in 1,000 years, said Les Johnson, deputy manager of NASA's Advanced Concepts Office at the space agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

'For you and me, 1,000 years is a long time,' he said. 'But don't forget: There was civilization 1,000 years ago; there was record keeping 1,000 years ago … We don't have the capability of building this today — but if we were launching a mission, certainly someone would turn on the radio transmitter and listen for the data to come back in 1,000 years.'

NASA is planning to launch a spacecraft equipped with the world's largest solar sail in November 2014. The Sunjammer (see Sail-World story) — named for a solar-sailing ship in an Arthur C. Clarke short story — will be used to monitor space weather and to demonstrate how this advanced technology could be used in future missions.

Although it will be the largest at about 124 feet (38 meters) on a side, NASA's Sunjammer won't be the first solar sail to fly in space. In June 2010, Japan's Ikaros probe unfolded its 46-foot-wide (14 m) solar sail and became the first spacecraft to cruise for interplanetary distances using sunlight alone.

Solar sailing isn't new; in fact, it's been around for half a century, Johnson pointed out. 'It was first demonstrated in space — that I'm aware of — with the big echo balloons that were inflated in space in the early 1960s by NASA — big, reflective Mylar-type balloons,' he said. 'And because they were spherical, symmetric, you didn't have any control ability, but essentially, these looked like perfect reflectors.'

However, don't get too excited about the idea of volunteering as crew on the Sunjammer, as space sailing will probably be unmanned for a very long time.


by Sail-World Cruising Round-up

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=114617

1:55 AM Wed 18 Sep 2013GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


Related News Stories:

26 Jun 2013  Beneteau invites: Design your OWN Oceanis, just as you want it...
10 May 2013  New 'Penguin' semi-sub: explore under the sea without getting wet
02 Apr 2013  Harken, putting the 'jazzle' on board your sailing boat
27 Mar 2013  Sailing to be our space future as NASA's solar sail prepares to fly
26 Mar 2013  Hybrid project on Hallberg Rassy wins Royal Thames Mansura Trophy
22 Mar 2013  New tool in the war against Somali piracy
17 Feb 2013  Marine products honored for innovation
03 Feb 2013  Largest ever space sail for 2014 - it's the Sunjammer!
11 Dec 2012  World-first vibrating, underwater barnacle buster gets thumbs-up
02 Dec 2012  Solar: a curious resemblance to the Maltese Falcon
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World























2014 Pacific Cup - Scarlet Runner wins by Vanessa Yates, Hawaii












































Anna Tunnicliffe wins first event of Reebok Cross Fit Games + Video
2014 Pacific Cup - Skill and luck required for victory
Six Metre European Championship - Action resumes on day 4
BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 4
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam on the horizon
Rolex Big Boat Series - Golden Jubilee to take place this September
DH Pacific Cup - Running with the pack + Video
Women's Match Race Golfe du Morbihan - Testing day in Vannes
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - Ireland establishes solid lead
International Moth Worlds: Outteridge charges into the lead + Video
Marina Rubicón Round Canary Islands Race - First blood to Team Brunel
ISAF Youth Match Racing Worlds - Competition heats up on day 2
Laser Radial World Championships - Competition aplenty on day 3 +Video
Extreme Sailing Series - Penultimate Act to take place in Nice
Leukemia Cup - Images by Leighton O'Connor
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup - Meeting of the grand designs
29er North American Championship - Final series kicks off
29er World Championship 2014 set to start in Kingston, Ontario
Barcelona and Parnu chosen for 2015 ORC championship events
2014 Race for Rady Yacht Race - Benefiting Rady Children’s hospital
CMRC Summer Invitational Series - Doubleheader events start tomorrow   
BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2014 - Day 3   
Sailing through STEM Night at California YC   
Six Metre European Championship - High temps and little wind on day 3   
Women’s Match Race Golfe du Morbihan - Light wind opener in Vannes   
International Moth Worlds: Rashley ahead as Aussies close in   
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - Unsatisfactory conditions on day 4   
ISAF Youth Match Racing Worlds - American unbeatable on day 1   
RS Feva World Championships - All set at Yacht Club de Carnac   
ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards - Nominations now open   
BIC Techno 293 Worlds - Steady winds on day 2 + Video   
29er North American Open Championship - Qualifying series wraps up   
Opening ceremony O'pen Bic World Cup, Travemunde Week, Germany   
Six Metre Europeans - Wind fails to make an appearance on day 2   
Edgartown Race Weekend - Let the sailing (and good times) begin   
ISAF Youth Match Racing World Championship - Action commences July 23   
International Moth Worlds - Mothballed on day 4 + Video   
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - Ireland remains out front   
Spirits high as Team Alvimedica completes Transatlantic crossing   
Gladwell's Line: A change of direction needed in the America's Cup *Feature   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT