Can you push a spacecraft with light? – VIDEO

Can you push a spacecraft with light?
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This episode is brought to you by Squarespace: ‪http://www.squarespace.com/physicsgirl

What if you could power a ship using sunlight instead of wind? Well in space, you can! Solar sails or light sails are pushed with light from the sun. Photons provide a kick when they reflect off the sail pushing the sail like an air molecule in the wind pushes a sailboat. Find out how a solar sail works and about the future of this technology!

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Host/editor: Dianna Cowern

Writer: Sophia Chen
Editor: Jabril Ashe – sefdstuff.com/science
Animator: Kyle Norby

Photos/Videos:
NASA
LightSail – Planetary Society
Pixabay.com
Shutterstock.com

FASTSAT NanoSail-D Launch – NASA:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gS4n5vz9Tw

Optical Tweezes Footage – Dr Luis Grave De Petralta:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6ybb9rKfus

IKAROS drawing – Andrzej MIrecki:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IKAROS#/media/File:IKAROS_solar_sail.jpg

Music: APM and YouTube

Video Source
Video Keyword – optical photons
Video Title – Can you push a spacecraft with light?
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Comments

  1. If the light-sail gains momentum from the photon then the photon must lose momentum, but how does it lose momentum if its mass is exactly 0 and it's speed is always constant ?

  2. But it means you can only sail away from the sun… Does it?

  3. To say light has no mass is just so wrong, because string theory says everything is energy…

  4. do the photons lose energy after bumping into the sail putting it into motion? because that would mean reflected light would be different from unreflected light, right? Is it? is there a connection to polarization maybe?

  5. butttt in space won't there be light comming from all directions? as all the stars Willie shining on it n push it back? so we will b playing solar system sized pong :O

  6. half a mile/h in a hour

  7. if you're in space and you blow on your hand will you feel air on your hand?

  8. and you have a space suit on and you take off the helmet and blow in your hand will you feel air hitting your hand?

  9. When you speed up that thing with solar power, how do you brake it then in space or you dont?

  10. I was at a TED talk yesterday and Hawkin announced he was working with a few others to design a ship that will travel 1/5 of the speed of light to Alpha Centuri. It's probe only a few mm across propelled by lasers from a whole field of transmitters at a giant sail. Supposedly it shouldn't be that long away and in theory the younger generation may be alive when the ship finally reaches its destination and transmits back. Incredible what the minds of today can create.

  11. Space is fake. The earth is flat.

  12. the weight of the light sail shouldnt be more than the light gives it..

  13. Hi! I was wondering if you could make a video talking about man-made things and that have been lost in space like that NanoSail-D spacecraft. What happens to them and do they have any consequences to the universe? Your videos are amazing. 🙂

  14. Does that mean light loses some of it's speed with each reflection?

  15. What if you could power a ship using sunlight instead of wind? Well in space, you can! Solar sails or light sails are pushed with light from the sun. Photons provide a kick when they reflect off the sail pushing the sail like an air molecule in the wind pushes a sailboat. Find out how a solar sail works and about the future of this technology!

    Thanks for this video.. So its true the space station are driven by solar wind. Just to confirm it lol.

    Also its true the space station are moving at no more than 1miles per hour. (very very slow)
    The speed they put in Wiki are the path they travelled by the Earth spin, and they count it as a distance. Actually they almost not moving. They just move Up and Down the Axis.

    => => =>
    => => => => => => (Direction of Earth spins)
    => => => => => =>
    => = > => => => =>

    In Flat earth map, 2D version of Globe earth map, the flight path of Space station will appear in that parabolic graph, because they are not moving in straight direction point. They just moving Up and Down the Axis of Earth.

  16. I think you have it backwards: absorbed light pushes more than reflected light.

  17. 3:30 that's a pretty big loaf of bread

  18. I want to see a composite of a solar sail and photo-voltaic solar cells.

  19. I first saw a working solar sail when I was 8

  20. I guess we now have,,, sataLIGHTS

  21. I want numbers! How much force is there on a 100 sq meter sail? …at Earth's distance from the sun? …at Pluto's?

  22. so the light moving satalites is like througing something at a brick trillions of times

  23. Physics Girl you are so Beautiful…?

  24. But this will limit us to traveling at the speed of light, at that point the photons won't reach the sail anymore.

  25. Totally reminds me of the book Quarter Share. That series (Golden age of the solar clipper) is amazing.

  26. Can anyone tell me how energy is conserved during the acceleration ?

  27. I thought mass was an impediment from the higgs field, so when the photon hits the sail, wouldn't that convert to mass?

  28. I suggest using black…the cosmic rays will saturate and the magnetic thrust will push back resulting in a forward movement

  29. NERD

  30. Why can't a beam of light from earth push the light sail?

  31. How do liquid crystals work?

  32. Cool! But how does a zero-mass object push?? I mean how do photons transfer energy to the sail if they have no mass?
    Guess I just don't get the whole "no-mass-momentum-thing"…

  33. Is there a way to sail "up wind" with a solar sail?

  34. There has been discussion on tiny meteors throughout the void of space. How long would a solar sail last?

  35. This is my favorite youtube channel right now <3

  36. Hey! Why don't you make a part 2 of this video telling about the research, currently under progress, on using lasers, here on Earth to accelerate Graphene films to upto 20% the speed of light to travel to the Trappist system and do research over there?

  37. Build the ship, attach a flashlight on to it, pointing at the sail. This will work, just like a fan on a sailboat.

  38. All I want is a site for creating websites that offers complete customization. I think they're going in the wrong direction by hoarding so many templates.

  39. Your hair is brighter than my future

  40. what happens to the light momentum?

  41. One can calculate the force on a solar sail: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_sail

  42. With textile sails you can sail against the wind. Is it at all possible to travel in any direction except directly from the source of photons with light sails?

  43. 4:30 ummm Can I take you out for dinner? ?

  44. I have no doubts that there is some way to make this more efficient and it will work. I still say what I am working on or some offshoot of it will work also for continuous constant acceleration in space. The issue is people seem to only watch one of the 3 test videos in the series and say oh it will not work because of this or that. I know they have not watched all 3 videos as I have addressed their concerns in the videos they did not watch. I am just one person trying something different to further space exploration. I hope someone will at least take time to look at what I propose in my videos and description below each video with an open mind and see from the results there is something going on here that warrants a second look. If nothing else, make people think outside of the box. To anyone who will watch all 3 of these videos, thank you. Great videos and explanations on your channel.

Comments are closed.