Is it possible to collect the Sun's cosmic rays positive and negative particles in different coils , using electromagnetic coils, 50 meter diameter collimating coils with solar cells to power the EM coils, placing multiple coils a bit closer to The Sun along an arc, beam them to a target . Used for rocket propulsion?

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    $\begingroup$ The solar wind contains a few thousand atoms per litre space.stackexchange.com/a/48366/28395 $\endgroup$
    – A. Rumlin
    Jun 12 at 10:56
  • $\begingroup$ @A.Rumlin solar wind contains more atoms closer to sun $\endgroup$ Jun 12 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ It would only work if the coils were 60 meters in diameter. $\endgroup$ Jul 15 at 21:41

1 Answer 1


Technically, there is nothing preventing you from manipulating solar wind protons and electrons like any others. However:

  1. The solar wind is extremely sparse. Simple sunlight produces about 2000 times as much pressure as the solar wind. Yes, the solar wind is stronger closer to the sun, but so is sunlight. And these particles come with a wide range of energies and directions, only a fraction of which will be usable: the process of focusing them into a beam will involve losing most of them.
  2. The solar wind is highly variable. Its intensity varies with an 11 year cycle, and solar storms and coronal mass ejections can cause much more severe temporary disruptions.
  3. Electromagnets in orbit won't naturally stay in formation. They would need constant thrust to hold their positions.
  4. There are limitations to how far a particle beam can be usefully focused. Your beam would only be useful relatively close to the formation of focusing electromagnets.

If we develop magsails or similar propulsion systems capable of using particle beams, it will be far more practical to generate the beams ourselves. We could then produce exactly the intensity and energy we need, where we want and pointed in the direction we want, without being concerned with solar weather.


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