Scientists have learned how to manage solar sails


08/12/2010

First light was used to create aerodynamic lift. Used a technique based on the fact that light can be bent, or refracted, when ingested from one medium to another, will create a spacecraft with solar sails. They will be able to change the direction of their motion, using only light.

The photons create the pressure when reflected by the object. Prototypes of the solar sail, trying to make as more reflective, to maximize the pressure. But so far failed to create an effective mechanism to control the direction of movement. "It is well known that the light source can be used to put pressure on anything, but the mechanism controlling the direction of movement is not yet developed," - said Grover Shvartslender of the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.

He said that he can maneuver the sails if the photons will not just bounce off the surface of the material, but to pass through it. After going through the sail, the photons will change its direction by an amount which is determined by the shape of the surface of the material and the so-called index of refraction. Angles of the incoming and outgoing light, will determine the direction of the sail.

Shvartslender and his colleagues have demonstrated the effect in a laboratory with semicircular plastic rods, a thickness smaller than a human hair. We’ll tell you the top news of science and technology, more detailed and interesting.

The asymmetrical shape

These rods are placed in a container with water and then passed through them, the laser beam from below. The rods were floating because of the pressure of radiation, just like any other object of the same mass. But, more importantly, they drifted away, and this is evidence that they can be controlled by light refraction.

The fact that the asymmetric shape of rods, influenced the nature of their movement, making their optical equivalents wing aircraft. Wings, whether it’s a bird or a plane, can fly thanks to its semi-circular shape, which is why air is forced to quickly fly over the rounded part of the wing, thereby draining the pressure on her. The relatively greater pressure from below creates a lift force, allowing the fly.

Shvartslender said that in the future, solar sails can be operated in 3-D, with the help of two perpendicular sets of semi-circular rods.

But Dean Elhorn leading NASA engineer, has recently launched an experimental satellite NanoSail-D solar sail on, said that sunlight may be too weak to use this effect in practice. He is studying ways to manage traffic using one of the reflected light. Hot news, science and technology, the only first-hand.


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