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?


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. $\endgroup$ – Vedant Chandra Feb 9 '14 at 16:03

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