Laser-light sailing and non-stationary power stations applied to robotic star probes

Matloff, Gregory L.
January 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 504 Issue 1, p993
Academic Journal
The light sail has emerged as a leading contender to propel extrasolar expeditions. Because solar-sail performance is limited by the inverse-square law, one-way expeditions to other stars requiring voyage durations of a few centuries or less may be propelled by radiation pressure from a laser beam originating from a location closer to the Sun than the space probe. Maintaining a stationary laser power station in position between Sun and spacecraft for years or decades presents many technical challenges. This paper presents a variation on the laser power station that may be simpler to implement, in which the Sun-pumped laser power station follows the spacecraft on a parabolic or slightly hyperbolic trajectory. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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