If you’re looking forward to watching The Martian movie, you probably enjoy watching rockets blast off into space and seeing big explosions. However, really long distance space travel could be much less entertaining without rockets unless you like looking at the glow of a ion thruster. Spacecraft using the momentum of light won’t even glow, but they could be part of more and more space ships. Check out a few of these projects.
- A yet-unexplained phenomenon creates propulsion when a laser hits a sheet of graphene sponge in a vacuum. A complete understanding of the momentum of light isn’t too far off, and if this kind of propulsion can be harnessed, it could make some satellites much more useful. [url]
- Microwave propulsion technologies have been tested a bit. Microwaves might also be used for energy transmission to various kinds of vehicles, but it could be a while before anyone is powering drones or satellites with microwave signals. [url]
- The Planetary Society has successfully deployed its first LightSail cubesat to test its solar sail technology before it launches another LightSail cubesat next year. This test ran into a few glitches along with way, so hopefully, they’ll work out all the bugs before the next mission. [url]
- Ikaros (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun) is a Japanese spacecraft that successfully used a solar sail in 2010. More solar sail spacecraft could get into space, as long as the demonstrations of the tech continue to work (and aren’t cancelled). [url]
After you’ve finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.