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Previously I'd mistakenly asked Would the Poynting–Robertson effect ever be faster than a solar sail from a 1 AU orbit to the Sun? when I'd meant to ask about the Yarkovsky effect which can be much stronger in some situations.

I'll repeat the question here with the correct words:


Yarkovsky Effect Source

In this answer to Do you need 0 km/s velocity to crash into the sun? I mention solar sails for retrograde thrust and the Poynting–Robertson as two ways an object could ever-so-slowly spiral into the Sun.

But as pointed out in this excellent answer to Would the Poynting–Robertson effect ever be faster than a solar sail from a 1 AU orbit to the Sun? it would always be much slower than you could do with a solar sail.

But now let's consider a thin, rotating shell, using known materials with modest extrapolations (like they do for solar sails) and ignoring deterioration due to solar wind, radiation damage and meteorites, is there some mass regime where a configuration optimized for Yarkovsky effect would be faster than a configuration optimized for a vanilla solar sail to get from a 1 AU orbit to the Sun?

For example, if two teams were assigned the task of designing a passive Sun-spiraling craft and given the same mass constraint, would the SolarSailors team always win no matter what mass was chosen, or are there some masses where the Yarkovsky effect could win?


Possibly helpful:

Solar sail:

Yarkovsky effect:

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  • $\begingroup$ Why are you "falling back" to Poyhting-Robertson again in the "For example..." sentence ? $\endgroup$ – Cornelisinspace Oct 6 at 10:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Cornelisinspace it looks like I changed the term in several places but missed one. Please feel free to go ahead and edit/fix. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Oct 6 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ That last sentence is to confusing for me to be able to fix it like you want it. $\endgroup$ – Cornelisinspace Oct 6 at 11:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Cornelisinspace I've just changed "Poyhting-Robertson" to "Yarkovsky" the same way I did everywhere else. I didn't mean to "fall back", I just forgot to "leap forward" enough times. P-R shouldn't appear anywhere except in the first sentence where I explain I'd used it by mistake. Looks good to me now. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Oct 6 at 13:03

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