Solar sails and comet tails

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Offline Alexh

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Solar sails and comet tails
« on: 28/11/2004 23:50:01 »
I've been following in the New Scientist and some science forums the debate over whether solar sails will ever actually work.

There are a number of arguments to say that they won't - and the most obvious evidence that they will is that comets have tails.

I just wondered whether anyone had seen any research on whether cometary tails could be due to tidal forces alone?
 

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Offline Ultima

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Re: Solar sails and comet tails
« Reply #1 on: 28/11/2004 23:57:07 »
The problem is to get any sort of acceleration from them you must fly very very near to the sun, so for an unmanned probe it might be ok.

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Offline chris

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Re: Solar sails and comet tails
« Reply #2 on: 29/11/2004 13:24:09 »
How are they supposed to work ?

Chris

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Offline gsmollin

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Re: Solar sails and comet tails
« Reply #3 on: 29/11/2004 18:40:22 »
They are large, thin mirrors that provide thrust by bouncing light photons off of them. Here are som weblinks with more info:

http://www.solarsails.info/
http://www.planetary.org/solarsail/
http://www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/snews/2004/0809.shtml
"F = ma, E = mc^2, and you can't push a string."