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If one was going to use a solar sail on a long-term space mission, it seems as though space debris would be very hard to avoid.

If a solar sail was perforated by a piece of space debris, would its usefulness be greatly reduced?

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No. They degrade gracefully with small punctures, with the degradation approximately proportional to the area ratio of the pinholes to the total sail. So almost not at all.

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    $\begingroup$ This reinforces the fact that unlike wind, light rays won't slide on the sail and rush out of the hole. Common misconception. $\endgroup$ Feb 9, 2014 at 16:03

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