Do you Know about?

Mini-camera pictures Japan's Ikaros solar sail.

It is the picture that confirms Japan's Ikaros solar sail is fully extended and ready for the next part of its mission.

The image was acquired by a tiny camera ejected from the central hub of Ikaros.

It transmitted the picture back to the central hub of the spacecraft, which then relayed the data many millions of kilometres to Earth.

Ikaros will demonstrate the principle of solar sailing, which has long been touted as a means of moving spacecraft around the Solar System.

The pressure of sunlight alone should drive the hub and its membrane through space.

Japanese space agency (Jaxa) scientists want to detect a measurable acceleration in the spacecraft as photons - the particles of light - from the Sun fall on the roughly 200-sq-m, ultra-thin sheet.

They will also attempt to change the direction of Ikaros by altering the angle of the sail. There are thrusters in the hub to do this, but the researchers want to see if it is possible simply by adjusting the reflectivity of LCDs embedded in the sail.


Ikaros diagram (Jaxa)

(1) For the deployment, the disc-shaped Ikaros spacecraft was first spun up
(2) The four weighted corners of the sail were then released and flew outwards
(3) Finally, the packed sail membrane was liberated and pulled flat by the rotating tips

Src & Text: [BBC]

No comments: