Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [light-sail]

questions about spacecraft propelled by the reflection of light, either from the Sun, or an artificial source.

4
votes
1answer
110 views

Could you track small particles in space and could you control their position with lasers or reflected light?

If you released a large amount of small but precise particles (the size of glitter or confetti) is space, between a group of cube sats. Could you track the particles with cameras and/or lasers? And ...
1
vote
1answer
126 views

Can light sails be stopped (after 20 years)? What will happen after the 20 years (after their journey)?

At that time will they be destroyed? Or can they come back? Or will we simply cut the laser power? And if we can make the size of the craft big enough so that a person can be on-board (without ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

How will The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 Spacecraft's retroreflectors be used?

For more information and links on The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 and its corner cube retroreflectors, see the question Planetary Society's LightSail Spacecraft's corner cube reflectors; how large,...
6
votes
1answer
124 views

Planetary Society's LightSail Spacecraft's corner cube reflectors; how large, and corrected for aberration?

The Planetary Society's new 3U cubesat LightSail spacecraft (mentioned in this answer) has corner-cube retroreflectors on on the 10x10 cm +z end, facing directly away from the sail, which will be ...
3
votes
0answers
180 views

Why would “Breakthrough Starshot” need photon thrusters?

Found here (italics added, bold in source): Nanocrafts are gram-scale robotic spacecrafts comprising two main parts: StarChip: Moore’s law has allowed a dramatic decrease in the size of ...
2
votes
2answers
232 views

Solar sail and debris shielding

If a space craft is to travel at 0.6 c, how must one design a protection system such that any and all debris collisions with the sail do not render it damaged for further use? Is it possible to employ ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

How long would it take for a light sail to make it to Proxima Centauri and what speed would it get to?

The new discovery of a small planet keeping Proxima Centauri company prompted my imagination into overtime. There are four parts to this: If we were to deploy a small probe on a light sail how long ...
4
votes
1answer
86 views

What are the benefits from using the Sun as a gravitational lens for beamed interstellar propulsion?

What would be gained from placing a powerplant with a photon beam canon and a light sail on opposite sides of the Sun, perfectly alligned, both at >550 AU from the Sun? That'swhere the lens starts, ...
8
votes
4answers
348 views

How will Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking's nanobots decelerate and transmit data upon arrival at Alpha Centauri?

Does anyone know what exactly is their plan, once they get there? How is that nano-thing going to slow down / take images / send data back to us? I couldn't find any information on this.