LightSail 2 begins its first journey
LightSail 2 begins its first journey
3:55

LightSail 2 begins its first journey

Science
[MUSIC] Imagine you're space explorer. You are on your way to a planet no one's ever been to and you realise you forgot to fill your tank at the space port. You're out of gas! But what if, and stay with me here, you could sail to your destination? That's what makes the concept of what's known as solar sailing, so fascination. Solar sailing is a Jane and Bill Nye is out to prove it's a real viable solution for space exploration. The light sail to pass a huge milestone this week when it successfully deployed its shiny solar sail in space, about 720 kilometers above earth and it started sending back some pretty incredible images. It's equiped with dual fish-eye camera lenses. In this photo you can see Baja, California, and Mexico in the background there. That sail is mylar, it's 32 square meters, about the size of a boxing ring. Now back in 2015 LightSail 1 completed a test flight in low Earth orbit. But didn't perform any controlled maneuvers. With lights sail too scientists want to show that the spacecraft can actually raise its orbit using only solar sailing, probably by about 15 kilometers. Now this is a project from the Planetary Society, which is headed up by NIH and also supported by Neil Degrassi Tyson. Back in 2015, they raised over $1.2 million on Kickstarter to get light sail to off the ground. It hits to ride to space last month on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Okay, so what is solar sailing? The idea is actually pretty simple, that just like any form of light, the light from the Sun is made up a photon. Which have no mass but they do carry momentum. So if something is light enough, like that solar sail, it can be pushed by those photons in the same way wind pushes the sail on a boat. This doesn't work on Earth, because we've got an atmosphere. But in the vacuum of space, there is no mass to push back on the sale. The idea is solar sailing could be used as a way to propel CubeSat through space. Those are essentially tiny satellites. They can carry science experiments they can observe earth. They can even provide broadband internet solar sailing isn't a new idea. Legendary astronomer Carl Sagan started talking about it decades ago. One mission that's being talked about is to rendezvous with Halley's Comet, [CROSSTALK] And why do you want us to do that? [LAUGH] Even the late, great Stephen Hawking Hawking was a fan of solar sailing. He backed a project called StarChip, which would use laser powered light sails to send a swarm of microbots to the nearest star Alpha Centauri. And back in 2010, Japan launched Ikaros toward. Venus making that the first spacecraft to demonstrate interplanetary solar sailing. Now just a day after deployment, the Planetary Society said the light sail was turning its broad side to the sun about once per orbit. That was giving it a little push no stronger than the weight of a paper clip. Okay, so what's next? Right now we're in the orbit raising portion of the mission for the next month, the spacecraft will continue swinging and sail into and away from the sun's rays which should generate enough thrust to raise its orbit after that, it is going to start losing the ability to maintain a circular orbit That essentially ends the mission. Now Lightsail Two will stay in orbit for about a year before re-entering the Earth's atmosphere and burning up. Now this technology is a long, long away from propelling humans around the solar system. In fact, the planetary society has only talked about using this technology on cube sats. But if this mission is a success, it would at least prove that solar sailing is a viable and efficient tool for space exploration. But I wanna know your thoughts on solar sailing. Is it the future of space exploration, or does this idea blow?

Up Next

Trash Gobbling Robots Cleaning Lake Tahoe and Beyond!
240426-site-wtf-beach-cleaning-robots-thumbnail-2

Up Next

Trash Gobbling Robots Cleaning Lake Tahoe and Beyond!

Nvidia's Project GR00T vs. Tesla Optimus: Competing Robot Strategies
240321-site-nvidia-project-groot-vs-tesla-optimus-v1

Nvidia's Project GR00T vs. Tesla Optimus: Competing Robot Strategies

Las Vegas Sphere: Everything You Need to Know
exosphere

Las Vegas Sphere: Everything You Need to Know

Future-Tech Trends to Watch in 2024
more-quantum

Future-Tech Trends to Watch in 2024

Creating the World's Most Efficient Solar Electric Car
cruiser-class

Creating the World's Most Efficient Solar Electric Car

40 Miles an Hour in an Electric Speedboat: Test-Driving the Arc One
arc-one-cms-thumb

40 Miles an Hour in an Electric Speedboat: Test-Driving the Arc One

How Mark Rober's Rivalry with Mr. Beast Led to a Nerf Gun Made of DNA
dna-nerf-gun

How Mark Rober's Rivalry with Mr. Beast Led to a Nerf Gun Made of DNA

Brain-Computer Interface: No Open Brain Surgery Required
demo3

Brain-Computer Interface: No Open Brain Surgery Required

Electronic Nose 'Smells' Wildfires for Ultra-Early Detection
cms-thumb

Electronic Nose 'Smells' Wildfires for Ultra-Early Detection

First Look at the Tech Inside the $2.3B MSG Sphere
msg-sphere

First Look at the Tech Inside the $2.3B MSG Sphere

Tech Shows

The Apple Core
apple-core.png

The Apple Core

Alphabet City
alphabet-city.png

Alphabet City

CNET Top 5
top-5.png

CNET Top 5

The Daily Charge
the-daily-charge.png

The Daily Charge

What the Future
what-the-future.png

What the Future

Tech Today
tech-today.png

Tech Today

Cooley On Cars
on-cars.png

Cooley On Cars

Carfection
carfection.png

Carfection

Latest News

Control Your Chromebook With Gestures and New AI Features
yt-josh-chromebook-clean

Control Your Chromebook With Gestures and New AI Features

Finding the Best Budget Smartwatch Under $100
240517-site-smartwatches-under-100

Finding the Best Budget Smartwatch Under $100

Klipsch Flexus Soundbars: Which One is Right for You?
Klipsch Flexus Range

Klipsch Flexus Soundbars: Which One is Right for You?

Unitree G1 vs. Boston Dynamics Atlas: Hypermobility in Humanoid Robots
240523-site-unitree-robotics-thumbnail-2

Unitree G1 vs. Boston Dynamics Atlas: Hypermobility in Humanoid Robots

Apple TV Just Leveled Up with the RetroArch App
240523-site-i-turned-my-apple-tv-into-a-sega-genesis

Apple TV Just Leveled Up with the RetroArch App

Everything Announced at Microsoft Build 2024
240521-site-microsoft-build-supercut-thumbnail

Everything Announced at Microsoft Build 2024

Sonos Ace Headphones Get Set to Take on the AirPods Max (First Look)
240520-site-sonos-headphones-4

Sonos Ace Headphones Get Set to Take on the AirPods Max (First Look)

Microsoft Announces First Surface Copilot Plus PCs Powered by Qualcomm
240520-site-microsoft-reax-2

Microsoft Announces First Surface Copilot Plus PCs Powered by Qualcomm

Everything Announced at Microsoft's Surface Copilot Plus PC Event
microsoft-event-5-20-24-20-may-2024-02-00-39-pm-00-08-21-09-still001

Everything Announced at Microsoft's Surface Copilot Plus PC Event

Android 15: See New Features in Action
yt-android-15-clean-1

Android 15: See New Features in Action