Barnes, Nathan L’Garde, Inc., Tustin, California.
- Solar-sail designs
- Sunjammer mission
- Additional Readings
Solar sailing is a form of space travel that uses pressure provided by sunlight for propulsion. Traveling through the heavens on starlight may sound like science fiction, but that is what solar sailors aim to accomplish. James Clerk Maxwell's equations describe the momentum and pressure that light imparts on objects in its path. While these equations are perhaps intimidating, the concept is simple enough; sunlight will create a pressure on a surface that it strikes. This simple idea underpins the concept of solar sailing. Solar pressure is not all that dissimilar from the pressure one feels when standing in a breeze. However, the solar pressure felt on Earth is roughly 1,000,000 times weaker than the wind pressure from a gentle breeze (15 km/h or 9 mi/h). In fact, it is not until several hundred kilometers of altitude that solar pressure finally surpasses the drag from residual atmosphere.
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information