Chemical propulsion and electric propulsion are not the only types of propulsion of interest to NASA. US space agency just Agree to continue developing a new project Completely different from what we are used to seeing. This project is called “Fission Solar Sail” It consists of Manipulating the light before it hits the solar sails Propel a spacecraft. According to scientists, this new design Propel ships more efficiently from traditional payment techniques.
Solar sails power spacecraft Using the pressure exerted by sunlight. This pressure occurs when photons bounce off the surface. The force generated is obviously quite weak, but by using a fairly large surface and light materials, it ends up making the machine move forward.
Scientists have been talking about this method of propulsing spacecraft for decades. Demonstrations have also taken place, as was the case with the Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 mission, which used sunlight to alter the orbit of a spacecraft.
Use light more efficiently
Solar sails produce maximum thrust when direct sunlight hits them. However, this limits the direction the machine can take, and it’s also not easy to maneuver. Researchers developed the Diffractive Solar Sail project for Improved yield of sunlight collected by sails.
This new technology Based on the phenomenon of diffraction of light. When light waves pass through a small hole, they come out the other side, spreading out like a fan. Thus, the new sails will be made with small nets embedded in thin films. This will scatter the light and make it easier to maneuver the spacecraft.
The fission solar sail project has been implemented Chosen by NASA as part of Phase III of the Innovative Advanced Concepts Program NIAC or NASA. So the team behind the project will focus on improving the materials used to make the sail. Ground tests will also be conducted to prepare the design for future space missions.
According to the team, this technology will allow the spacecraft to To go to places where there were no other spacecraft.
For his part, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that venturing into the universe requires more innovative technologies to carry out the missions. He added that the Nyak program helps to “Unleash the ideas of visions and bring them closer to reality”.