23 years after the death of Carl Sagan, the idea of a ship driven by Light particles, Designed by the famous scientist of science, will be launched into space on June 22 on a Falcon Heavy X-type space. Is LightSail 2, a CubeSat satellite, the size of a loaf of bread, weighing 5 kg.In its goals are scientific data collection and improved control of the "solar sail" but also the discovery of geomagnetic storms in the sun.If successful, Leave the Earth using sunlight.
In this case, these are not the glittering space trips, financed by international consortia, but rather a slow and economical journey, in charge of planetary society. LightSail 2 is designed to get the gentle urge of photons and heavy ions in its sails, from A similar way how to craft land use wind power to move.
LightSail 2 will be placed in orbit, during the seventh day of the Falcon Heavy crossing, by Prox-1.
This project is designed to prove that solar navigation is feasible as a propulsion method for small satellites. And if the tests succeed, in the coming years, they can be programmed Search ships Mars Mars or Saturn, On long-range missions, since the source of energy is inexhaustible for these modules.
"Forty years ago, Professor Carl Sagan shared his dream of using a ship with solar sails to explore the universe, thousands of people from all over the world came together and supported this idea, we could not do it without them." Carl Sagan and colleagues Bruce Murray and Louis Freedman, have created our organization to train people everywhere and advance in space science, "said Bill Nye, CEO of Planetary Society.
The advantage of a solar boat is this Never run out of fuel And although the acceleration of light is small – from 1 to 10 kiloelectronvoltios (keV) – it is always constant. Unlike a spaceship with chemical rockets to burn their propulsion in stages to smooth out the rest of the time, solar sails do not stop accelerating, achieving more stable speeds.
After LightSail 2 came into orbit 720 km, Where the acceleration of sunlight exceeds the atmospheric drag, Open her four candles. This structure includes a combined area of 32 square meters and 4.5 microns thickness, a quarter of the thickness of the waste bag.They are made with a polyester called Mailer.
Latest tests in LightSail 2
This task has a lot of experimental physics and one of its biggest challenges will be to keep the instrument navigating very close to the atmosphere of the Earth through the solar wind particles, which have relatively low energy making them easy to control.
The satellite will travel to space on the Space Program of the Department of Defense (STP-2), which will send 24 spacecraft on three different routes. "LightSail is technically wonderful, but it's surprisingly romantic.We'll sail on the sun," said Nye.
To maintain this cubic satellite stability, there are three electromagnetic rods that interact with the earth's magnetic field. And to measure the impact of the sun's rays, the base has Lasers allow to quantify the amount of energy processed by candles.
The LightSail 2 will be on orbit during the seventh day of the Prox-1 crossing, a 61-cm-linked device originally designed by the US Institute of Technology to conduct close-to-space reconnaissance missions Other.
To return from Earth orbit you will need a higher speed. It will get it And adjusted the candle in such a way that it captures a larger amount of light particles. To march the march, it would be enough to align the candle towards the opposite photons.
Another one of the connections would be to know What acceleration can you achieve in space. With instruments in orbit, the goal is to see how much motivation they need to move away from the Earth's magnetic field and begin exploring deep space.
The first attempt to send a vehicle powered by a solar sail entered space in 2005. On this occasion the results were not expected. Cosmos 1 did not reach the path he defined. The rocket in which he was to take off was guilty and some years passed a new experience.
To keep this cubic satellite stable, it has three electromagnetic rods that interact with the Earth's magnetic field
Next to use the solar sail system will be NASA NEA Scout, which will be launched to the moon on the first flight of the SLS (Space Launch System) and will use the solar sail. This undisclosed robotic reconnaissance mission will deploy to fly and retrieve data from an asteroid near Earth.