Archive for the ‘Sails’ Tag

The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean   20 comments

Sky Blue Moons

“We began as wanderers and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean.

We are ready to set sail for the stars”

~ Carl Sagen

D4

Sky blue moons rose on a bright early-morning, alien-world horizon, lighting up the spring sky of another world. Songs of the sol-light wound through the rarefied atmosphere drifting through the sol-lit Europan moon wolf. She walked in star dreams, future wolf fired with gold-the burning fire of the cosmos. Born of burnished, cold star-fire, guardian of the wolf gates, and interstellar traveller from galaxies far distant, daughter of the stars and dreamer of the moon dream. Caller of the star song and lunar-light dreams, fired by the consuming power of the star-streams and the call of the cosmos.

High on a plateau over- looking the frozen ice deserts of Europa and the darker shadowed regions of Thera and Thrace Macula, flashes of the wolf ways etched in fiery star-lit eyes, the Europa’s moon-wolf stood still and watchful at the gateway to worlds, head thrown high into the soft plains wind ruffling her coat, lifting it lightly in sol-fired strands of moon dreams. She gazed out into space softly spangled ears, pricked forward, damp nose scenting the cool morning air drifting across the cratered region below-the frozen Plains where Europa’s Wolf Gates are located. Glowing gateways between worlds. The galaxies space ways, negotiated by the wild star wolves, finely honed instincts guiding their safe rite of passage between galactic worlds. An elusive natural phenomenon well known but little understood. Surrounded by mystery.

Alien wolf on an alien world, calling the unfathomable song of the stars. Guardian of the wolf gates and path finder of the wolf ways. All alien off-worldly star dreams. Cosmic dreams swam in burning wolf-eyes the whispering call of the highest ranking alpha wolf, swirling on the borders of the consciousness of the star wolves attuned to its dream-like call. Caught in the surging whirlwind of the powers inherent within her, she stood still and tall foreseeing all in the dreams of the star-bred moon wolves of Europa, eyes distant and gazing, already at the horizon of another world beyond the wolf gates, seeing what wasn’t yet there. Dream chaser, night wolf, runner in the shadows.

Following the call of the rift wolves she flew along the wolf ways engaging the power of the star streams, gliding in azure ribbons of crystal light along the blue-bathed wolf ways negotiating the wolf gates with the ease of the true Pathfinder, drawn across worlds by the power of the stars, crystal blue eyes alight with a sense of purpose that burned interstellar fire, as star-paths swept by in a blur of scenery, here and gone in the blink of a space dog’s azure eyes. Leading ever onwards to her destiny and the call of the rift wolves, answering an ancient call of the stars.

 

Rift wolves_Thru the Wolf Gates

She stepped out into a new world of fathomless winds, throwing up the desert red sands in billowing wind formations whipping the thin atmosphere into forming alien landscapes, a running ghost in the rising dust clouds and the valley peaks and troughs. Windswept as a sulphur-tinged breeze lifted her silken coat into the alien airways. Dim infra-red moon light filtering through her coat and her spirit till she became one with the world and stood proud and free to survey her kingdom across the endless canyons.In the Eyes_of a Star Wolf

 

“The Wolf’s spirit burns bright as the fire of the sun.

I looked into the eyes of a wolf and I saw my own heart…

I looked through the eyes of a star-wolf

And I saw cities in the sky, worlds beyond the stars…”

~  Know Me!, Europa’s Icewolf 2010

 

Earth’s sea hung in the alien sky, a heartbreakingly beautiful globe of intransient sky blue and frothing cloud-white. Bright blue sea geysers shot into the void with a burst of azure spray and the dolphins of marine Earth plummeted into the water and sky celebrating all that life was and would be and bringing with them the hope of the future for Extra Terrestrial Life.

Shores of the Cosmic Ocean

“The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean”

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we would go nowhere.” ~Carl Sagen

Solar Sails   14 comments

Solar Sail Space Crafts

 

Space craft propelled directly by the power of sunlight (solar cells are indirect power).

clip_image002

Two projects are set for launch this year:-

  •   IKAROS – launched by Japanese Space Agency JAXA
  •   SOLARSAIL-1 by US based Planetary Society

(These are demonstrations to show that it can work, but they are very tiny!)

Solar Sail Craft Basics

gossamer_solar_sail

Constructed from Gossamer – thin reflective sails capture photons

  •   Photons are packets of energy that make up sunlight

The sails gain momentum from the photons as they are reflected from their surface. Energy gained pushed the craft forwards gently. The force of sunlight is very little but this is fine as their CO2 acts against it in the vacuum of space.

Future sails could be made of nanotube mesh – 30 times lighter, and could increase acceleration dramatically.

nanotube_mesh

Travel and Speeds

With the Sun set to shine for a good billion years or so yet, it can be considered an endless fuel supply therefore a Solar Sail Craft could in theory, reach speeds of hundreds of kilometres per hour making travel to Pluto a mere three years and to the outer limits of the Solar System years rather than decades. NASA’s Voyager craft took thirty years to reach these limits. A Solar Sail Craft launched today would pass it in ten years.

                                               voyager_1 voyager_2

Other Solar Sails

They would need sails 100m across and a boost from a large and unrealistically expansive laser system as the Sun’s energy decreases with distance. However laser-boosted systems could see a Solar Sail Craft travelling at speeds of up to 20% speed of light (60,000km/hr or 45,000mph) every second. This would make visiting neighbouring stars in our lifetime our best possibility.

Brief History

  1. Concept first proposed by German astronomer Johannes Kelper in seventeenth century
  2. 1862 Scottish physicist James Clark Maxwell discovers that light exerts a pressure on a surface.
  3. 1867 Jules Vernes suggests light pressure could provide a mechanical means of propulsion.

solarsail4. 1924 Russian scientist Fridrickh Arturovich Tsander wrote “For flight in Interplanetary Space I am working on the idea of flying using tremendous mirrors of very thin sheets capable of achieving favourable results.“

Mariner Probe

5. 1971 When NASA’s probe Mariner ran low on steering thrusters fuel en route to Venus engineers angled its solar panels into the Sun and used solar radiation pressure to steer it back on course.

Cosmos-1

6. 2005 Cosmos-1 a Solar Sail designed by US Planetary Society failed its test, due to rocket failure on launch vehicle, resulting in it being unable to reach its intended orbit.

                                                                         Nanosail-DNanosail-D_(2)

7. 2008 NASA’s Nanosail-D mission, to test the Solar Sail’s deployment techniques. Lost during launch failure.