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Solar sail test successful so far! / Boing Boing



Yesterday, a satellite less than a shoebox unfurled a solar sail making it the first spacecraft to orbit the Earth powered by sunlight. LightSail2 is a project of the Planetary Society, a fantastic nonprofit organization co-founded by astronomer and science educator Carl Sagan. From the New York Times:

For centuries, it was only a dream: traveling through space propelled by the sun's photons. It was first imagined in the 1

600s by Johannes Kepler, the German astronomer who described the laws of the planets' orbits. In 1964, Arthur C. Clarke moved into the realm of science fiction in "Sunjammer," a short story. Carl Sagan, the cosmologist, believed it could be more than a speculative fantasy, and in the 1970s began promoting the building of solar exploration.

After 10 years of planning and over 40,000 private donations worth $ 7 million, that took flight on Tuesday, as LightSail 2, a spacecraft built for the Planetary Society, co-founded by Mr. Sagan, began what its creators hope will be a year of sailing around Earth.

"This is still one of the most feasible pathways to have," said Sasha Sagan, a writer as well as the daughter of the astronomer.

If it succeeds in its mission, it Hydrogen fuel, eventually runs out.

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David Pescovitz

David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor. On Instagram, he's @pesco.

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