The legendary astronomer Carl Sagan once imagined a solar sail spacecraft that uses radiation from sunlight to push through the solar system like a ship is based on the wind. Decades later, the project is about to become a reality. The Planetary Society (which was co-founded by Sagan) is planned for the first test flight of a solar vehicle, LightSail May 20 the initial print run will be to see if the machine is able to deploy its four candles Mylar. It will not be at a high enough orbit to harvest energy from the sun, but experience should pave the way for a candle honest to goodness test in April 2016.
These are not the first yacht, we should add. Japan’s IKAROS probe began in July 2010, and NASA launched its own example, a few months later. However, LightSail could be very important for the future of space travel, especially as it progresses towards the private sector. The entire program costs just $ 4.5 million (a drop in the ocean compared to the typical space budgets) … and, of course, that does not rely on expensive fuel oil, heavy to move. If successful, it would therefore make space exploration practice for various organizations and allow long trips, more agile small boats.