Article Image
IPFS News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

Latest Progress Towards Laser Pushed Solar Sails

• https://www.nextbigfuture.com, Brian Wang

He has received NASA and Starshot funding. There have 100 students in his programs. They have created hardware components and performed various experiments.

The DE-STAR (Directed Energy System for Targeting of Asteroids and ExploRation) has several sizes. DE-STAR-1 is 10 meters on a side, DE-STAR-2 is 100 meters on a side, DE-STAR-3 is 1000 meters on a side and DE-STAR-4 is 10,000 meters on a side.

A full-scale DE-STAR 4 (100GW) will propel:

* a wafer-scale spacecraft with a 1 meter laser sail to about 26% of the speed of light in about 10 minutes (20kgoaccel)
* a wafer craft could reach Mars (1AU) in 30 minutes
* a wafer craft pass Voyager I in less than 3 days
* a wafer craft could pass 1,000 AU in 12 days and
* a wafer craft reach Alpha Centauri in about 20 years.

After a few minutes of laser illumination the wafers are launched. This allows hundreds of launches per day or 100,000 missions per year.

The same directed energy driver (DE-STAR 4) can also propel
* a 10 kg payload to 2.5% of light speed
* a 100 kg payload to about 1% of light speed and
a 10,000 kg payload to more than 1,000 km/s.

Systems in Earth orbit, Mars and the moon could accelerate and decelerate solar sail craft.


midfest.info