Will future spacecraft be powered by solar sails?


We’ve all seen it in sci-fi movies and of course expect that one day space travel will be normal. But what is the real situation of massive space travel? One possibility is space travel, like the famous British ship Ran Francis Drake.
We’ve all seen the TV series ‘Star Trek’ and we expect that one day travel between planets will become normal. If you look optimistic, by 2025 we may be able to take four people back to the moon. But that’s what Neil Armstrong and his colleagues did 60 years ago in 1969. What if we wanted to go further with more than four people? What if we wanted to travel through real humans to planets and planets in the solar system that try to make them habitable and part of life? How can we do this?
It’s not easy. Both the conventional space shuttle and the newly developed manned spacecraft can fly to low ground orbit at an altitude of only two hundred and fifty miles above our heads. Remember that the moon is 2.5 million miles away while the distance to Mars is no less than 50 million miles. Even more worrying is the fact that the atmosphere in outer space is more dangerous than the space stations already in human reach.
There may be a solution. For more than a hundred years, far-sighted space scientists have been talking about flight. Instead of running engines and wasting large amounts of fuel in low-Earth orbit, we will build more high-flying spacecraft and further explore the spaceless atmosphere, after which we will leave our fearless astronauts open.
Solar sails continue to fly with the power of solar energy. If you can absorb enough solar energy, you can achieve impressive speeds without burning any fuel. What’s even better is that you can fly in and out of the solar system whenever you want.
They have open parts and do not need to be replaced. People who reach Earth’s orbit via a solar sail will only need food and oxygen. Unlike the days of Sir Francis Drake, the spacecraft will not need fuel.
The concept of light pressure is more than a hundred years old and was proposed by the famous Russian engineer Konstantin Tsiolsovsky before anyone else built a solar sailing ship. The concept of a solar sail has been debated ever since, and every future generation of future engineers has come up with different shapes. Leading scientist Carl Sagan did his best to popularize the idea in the 1970s, but he could not convince NASA to come up with it.
Many technologists have tried but failed. In order to fly to Venus, in 2010, the Japanese space agency developed the ‘Akaros’, which was very small and square. Surprisingly, it was successful. The 14-by-14-meter-square Icarus was 196 square meters.

Most people think that a solar sail can only fly high to planets far from the sun. Scientists have long known that the angle of a ship can be turned toward the sun to reach the solar system. Keep in mind that as you move away from the sun, the intensity of solar energy begins to decrease rapidly, so the plan to fly Icarus towards Venus has actually improved the performance of the Japanese machine (Venus compared to our Earth). Closer to the sun).

At the beginning of the twentieth century, scientists realized that light is a stream of very small particles called photons. Needless to say, no one has ever seen them with their own eyes, but their presence can be detected by the use of the brain. Each photon erupts from the sun at the speed of light and moves at a modest speed. When light hits a mirror and reflects it, it actually transmits its speed. The amount of energy produced at this stage is surprisingly small, but so small that most of us have never felt the pressure of light in our bodies, and by the twentieth century no one has tolerated the intensity of a photon. Was not measured at all.
Nevertheless, satellites orbiting the Earth in a stationary orbit (due to the same constant push of light) gradually deviate from their orbits and have to be re-orbited over and over again.
Remember that telecommunications planets are not designed to absorb solar energy, but simply because they are in orbit cannot escape the intensity of solar energy.

Because light pressure is extremely low, the only way left is to build large solar sails with a very large circumference. At the same time, I should mention that the sails will be very heavy in this way, but so heavy that the entire weight of our proposed spacecraft will be sailing.
Fortunately, space is vast and its atmosphere is so different from Earth’s that impossible structures can be easily built here and there. If we build a sail 800 meters wide and 800 meters long, it will only need five Newtons or half a kilogram of energy.

One pound of fuel does not cost much for such a large structure. Remember that if we want to use it as fuel, we will have to use a lot of ropes to tie the outer equipment and thus slow down the journey of the heavy equipment and ropes spacecraft. To do this, we need to use the finest ropes that weigh less than the finest fishing ropes.
The secret of the science of the solar sail is the constant thrust. As long as the sun is shining, the sail will continue its journey every moment of every year. Just imagine the energy needed to run a rocket engine. It’s big and spectacular, but it fades away in a few moments. If we set our own six-month time to reach Mars, the solar sail flight is very efficient and could make us travel very fast in space without leaving any space for fuel.
How much more can we take this technology?
If you’ve ever tried wrapping a sandwich in thin plastic paper, you’ll know how difficult it is to handle things in a thin envelope. They intertwine very quickly, so the engineers who worked to put the concept of solar sails into practice developed such sails on Earth, tying them into small bundles, and then positioning them in space. It took a lot of brain skills to discover the opening process.
The Icarus concept is based on a swollen tube filled with gas, rather than a self-opening sail. The two sides of the sail were smaller than the expected structures that people had been talking about for a long time, but the Japanese managed to reach Venus by putting this idea into practice. If we want a huge solar sail capable of delivering heavy cargo to the Mars colony, then we need a sail that is a thousand meters long from each shore and a material that reflects 100 percent of the light and is extremely thin.

To this end, efforts have been made to produce the most famous aluminum foil light reflecting material on such ultra-thin and plastic all over the world. A very thin sheet of paper has been successfully prepared in the laboratory. NASA’s first idea in the 1970s was to attach sail material to a spaceship like layered carpets. Once in space, the spacecraft will begin to spin and the sail will begin to unravel with the help of a device installed in the middle.
Continuous rotation will maintain their structural integrity and the sunlight absorbed by each sail will propel the spacecraft forward.
 Given that we have succeeded in establishing a major industrial center in space, new and different technologies will be introduced. Imagine we can make a big circle just like we make bubbles by dipping soap into a bucket of water. Instead of soapy water, we fill the circle with wax film. Working in an airless space environment, we heat the aluminum canister until it evaporates into gas.
We then use a paint gun to spray the gaseous material on the wax. Leave it for a while for it to thicken on the wax and then we have developed a thick layer of aluminum that will completely change the future of the spacecraft. We then enclose all this material in a box and heat it to a relatively low temperature until the wax evaporates and recycles and forms a layer of aluminum that is frozen and as thin as 50 atoms. Is. Great! We have created a magnificent thin space mirror that weighs almost nothing. More importantly, its surface is almost entirely reflective.

The material used to make the acarus weighed ten kilograms per square meter. Our new space sail weighs less than one kilogram per square meter but has the same power. If we make it in large quantities and use it for mosaics, we can make solar sails with amazing properties. Something like 10 by 10 kilometers that would be driven by robots like ants that could send and return a large spacecraft full of humans to Mars in a matter of weeks.
Needless to say, this is a thing of the future. Many space agencies have worked on sailing technology and for some time now have been focusing on preparing materials on Earth and opening them up in the weightless space of space.
When the first spacecraft launches from the International Space Station, it stops just a few steps away, and its long time lag is a source of frustration. The speed of a solar sail is slow and complex, lasting several months, but as it rises above the earth, its speed increases (seven miles per second) and dramatically less time moving towards Mars or the rest of the planets. Puts.
Some scientists are even thinking of new things in this regard. If slowing down from sunlight is a problem, why not increase it with the help of powerful lasers? If we tie the sail to the back of the original spacecraft, then the crew and equipment will be protected from light.

To speed up the start of the journey, we can put laser light on the sail to increase the sun’s natural energy. Some scientists have even offered technology to detect the rest of the planets, so that we can develop amazing high-speed robotic planes that can be accelerated with the help of lasers.
Solar sailing ships have not yet become a reality, but their existence is not far off now, and it will not be easy to save themselves from the lure of free fuel.

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