The Solar Sail Propulsion Race Is On

The Solar Sail Propulsion Race Is On – 3 Way Race To Asteroids and Beyond

Journey to Asteroids:

sunjammer-flying-limb-earthUN NEO working group had met on Thursday, February 14 to discuss the relatively large asteroid called 2012 DA14 . Next day at 2:24 PM ET , DA14 passed by Planet Earth on a rendezvous relatively close, 17,100 miles from Earth’s surface.

DA14 Impact on land or sea would have been a class I natural disaster due to its size. Scientifically such an asteroid impact is not expected statistically but once in a generation.

The last asteroid impact somewhat similar in size to DA14 is remembered as the Tunguska event that occurred on June 30, 1908. The impact occurred in the air rather than ground, and knocked down among other damages, some 80 million trees in the Siberian region of Russia along the Tunguska River. Those knocked down trees were located in some 850 square miles.

Companion to DA14 fly by earth on same day, Friday, February 15, was an asteroid that entered the Russian airspace and disintegrated on a flash unknown and unexpected to scientists. Space agencies later estimated this Russian asteroid to have a mass of about 8000 Tons and 50 Feet in length. From sonic boom of the impact, glass in houses were shattered in the region. Russian news agencies reported about 1000 people were injured including 200 children from this event.

Asteroid Precious Metals – Like Gold 15th Century

122Much is yet to be learned from this unusual double event, DA14 fly by and Russian asteroid impact at about the same time, highly unusual and totally unexpected natural disaster event in Russia.

Now the race is on using a space propulsion called Solar Sail to reach asteroids for deflection when necessary and for mining precious metals that can be valuable as gold of Americas was for mariners from Europe in the 14the Century.

There are three teams competing to develop the Solar Sail Space Propulsion Technology today. Below is a brief progress report and status. Who will get this technology working first ? It’s a combination of engineering talent, design, and efforts.

Yea, Columbus got to America first and took back some gold from the new world to his sponsor, King and Queen of Spain. Race was on between England, Spain, Holland and Portugal for gold and for other riches of the new world for markets of Europe.

Centuries later, now nations have defined a new space propulsion race/ To reach the asteroid for benefit of all earth people and perhaps save earth from the next destructive asteroid just in time .

Team A3 Plantary Society Team:
With Russian Collaborators.

Plaentary Society’s LightSail-1 Project is nearly complete as reported in the society’s website given below.

The plan is to launch the spacecraft using a rocket launched from sea with launch tool made available by the Russian team member. Photos show LightSail-1 is more complex of the three teams and exact date of launch is not yet published.

Question: What is the destination of LightSai-1 space vehicle if successfully launched near term as expected?

Tara Kelly

Tara Kelly works as a columnist and as a freelance writer. She also works with a number of non profit organizations such as the Feeding America.