LightSail 2 is sailing on pure sunlight

10X Technology

LightSail 2 is sailing on pure sunlight

Priya Wadhwa
10X Technology
Published:
LightSail 2 is sailing on pure sunlight
The crowdfunded spacecraft is one of the most interesting ones travelling in space right now. Here’s why.

On June 24, a number of satellites and spacecrafts ascended to space. One of them is the Planetary Society’s LightSail 2, a crowdfunded spacecraft travelling solely on the force of sunlight.

No, it doesn’t have solar panels, nor is it using the heat from the sun or solar wind power. It is literally travelling through space on nothing more than the force exerted by photons (from sunlight) hitting its immense shiny sail.

And guess what? You can track its status of its flight.

The project that garnered more than $1 million on Kickstarter, is actually working on an idea that was first thought of in the 1600s by Keplar.

Also Read : The race to space

“I was introduced to this in the 1970s, in the disco era. I was in Carl Sagan’s astronomy class… wow, 42 years ago, and he talked about solar sailing,” recalled Bill Eye, CEO of the Planetary Society and acknowledged Science Guy.

“I joined the Planetary Society when it was formed in 1980, and we’ve been talking about solar sails around here ever since then. It’s really a romantic notion that has tremendous practical applications; there are just a few missions that solar sails are absolutely ideal for.”
Bill Nye, Planetary Society CEO

“I was introduced to this in the 1970s, in the disco era. I was in Carl Sagan’s astronomy class… wow, 42 years ago, and he talked about solar sailing,” Nye recalled. “I joined the Planetary Society when it was formed in 1980, and we’ve been talking about solar sails around here ever since then," said Bill Nye, Planetary Society CEO It’s really a romantic notion that has tremendous practical applications; there are just a few missions that solar sails are absolutely ideal for.”

The solar sails are primarily ideal for long-term, medium-orbit missions where a craft needs to stay in an Earth-like orbit, with some distance away from. In the future, we could also see it taking long-distance missions where slow and steady acceleration from the sun would be more practical and better suited than another propulsion method.