from the urls-we-dig-up dept
One of the problems with space travel is that the chemical fuels required to get around in space.. really limit how far a spacecraft can go. A spacecraft can only carry around so much fuel, and then once that fuel is gone, the ship is basically drifting in space. There are some creative solutions to this challenge, though. If you aren’t in a hurry, you can try to propel an object with the momentum of light. Or you can shoot very small atoms at high velocity to create thrust. But you cannot change the laws of physics!
- The Planetary Society is constructing a cubesat with a LightSail — a 32-square-meter Mylar sail that will capture the momentum of sunlight for propulsion. This Kickstarter campaign will help fund the $5.45 million project to build a spacecraft that will be ready to launch in 2016 (on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket) along with another satellite that will inspect the LightSail and its performance. [url]
- NASA is still trying to verify the feasibility of “EM drive” technology — that shouldn’t work at all if the universe obeys the conservation of momentum. No peer reviewed papers on this kind of propulsion exist because no one understands how to fully explain the impossible (or merely erroneous) thrust that has been detected from it. [url]
- Electrically-driven satellites using ion thrusters do actually exist, and Boeing has built two of them. These satellites with xenon-ion thrusters are already in space and will move into their operational orbits by November. A few other electric-propulsion spacecraft from Airbus and Thales Alenia Space will join these satellites in space in the near future, too. [url]
After you’ve finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.
Filed Under: em drive, ion thrusters, lightsail, planetary society, propulsion, rockets, satellites, solar sail, space, space exploration, spacecraft
Companies: airbus, boeing, kickstarter, nasa, spacex, thales alenia space