<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>
Space Group Plans Solar Sailing Voyage
Feb 26 2001 6:11PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In what sounds like a purely fantastic voyage, a private U.S. group that boosts planetary exploration said on Monday it plans to use the power of light to sail a giant windmill-shaped contraption through space. <P>The Planetary Society, founded by the late astronomer Carl Sagan and others, said the vehicle features reflective surfaces that will be propelled when particles of light called photons hit it. <P>The fanciful craft, with its 30-yard sails, is to be launched on a converted Russian intercontinental ballistic missile from a submarine in the Barents Sea later this year. The total cost of the mission is about $4 million. <P>This so-called solar sail technology has been theorized as a means for space travel for decades but never put into practice, according to Louis Friedman, one of the society's co-founders and its current chief. <P>Friedman, who worked with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on solar sail technology in the 1970s, said it might make interstellar flight possible much sooner than most scientists now estimate. <P>"Interstellar flight is an idea to us the way airplane flight was to (Leonardo) Da Vinci: Hundreds of years into the future with no real way of knowing how to do it," Friedman said in a telephone interview from his Pasadena, Calif., office. <P>"With (solar) sailing it may not be that far in the future," he said; rather than hundreds of years, such flights might be possible with this technology in 100 years. <P>The mission, called Cosmos 1, would begin with a sub-orbital test deployment of the solar sail in April and an orbital flight of several days, weeks or months toward the end of the year. <P>The craft would be visible to the naked eye from some places on Earth, but only as a bright dot in the sky. <P>The project is being funded by Cosmos Studios, a science entertainment venture run in part by Sagan's widow and longtime collaborator, Ann Druyan. <P>The mission does not aim to travel between the stars or even between the planets, but merely to show that the technology exists that could make this possible in the future, Friedman said. <P>Solar sailing is powerful enough to push spacecraft between the planets from Mercury out to Jupiter, the society said in its announcement. Beyond Jupiter, space sailing could be done using powerful lasers focused over long distances in space. <P>More information about the mission can be seen online at <A HREF="http://www.planetary.org." TARGET=_blank>http://www.planetary.org.</A>
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>that's some neat shite, huh. i suppose in less than 5 years we all may be sailing the seas of accountancy up in outer space. perhaps the america's cup will no longer be determined on the high seas, near the shoals of bankruptcy, but rather upon mylar sails powered by cosmic radiation thus providing the sailors with Fantastic 4-esque powers. that may just be the day!<P>------------------
<A HREF="http://barclayusa.keenspace.com" TARGET=_blank>Barclay, U.S.A.</A> - Mediocrity at its finest!<P>"Egg!?!"