It will travel over 2 million miles from the earth. It is now official, in 2014 NASA will launch the solar sail Sunjammer, the largest in the world. SunJammer distinguishes itself from all other NASA technologies by the total absence of fuels, the solar sail will be powered entirely by light photons.
There solar sail boasts a total area of about 13,000 square meters, one side measuring 124 meters. Despite these dimensions, the aircraft will not exceed 31 kilograms in weight: it is composed of Kapton-a, a 5 micron thick polyimide produced by Dupont chemical laboratories. The kapton-a it is not such an unknown material, it is also used in cinema for setting up sets. The Sunjammer was built in California.
What will the role of the solar sail Sunjammer?
Analyze and collect space debris, build communication bridges and serve as a hub for in-orbit missions. It is not excluded that the Sunjammer could be sent outside the Solar System.
“Any space mission today is limited by consumable propellants. By showing a technology that is not limited by consumption, what new applications could one think of? We are opening up a whole new field of studies on what could be done in space. "
This is explained by Billy Derbes, chief engineer for the Sunjammer project.
There space solar sail it will bring numerous advantages, environmental and above all economic. The space technologies they have very high costs, which is why it is a sector of interest of a few agencies. With the spread of systems such as solar sails, space explorations could be ever more numerous, presumably reaching beyond the solar system.