- News Home
27 November 2013 12:59 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The new head of the National Center for Science Education promises to "fight the good fight" against attacks on...
Analyses of the H7N9 strains isolated from four new cases show that the virus is evolving rapidly, heightening anxiety...
In 2009, Jack Szostak shared a Nobel Prize for his part in discovering the role of telomeres, the end bits of...
Science has exposed a thriving academic black market in China involving shady agencies, corrupt scientists, and...
Paper-selling agencies flourish in the aura of reputable businesses. For some scientists, it may be difficult to tell...
Data collected by satellites and floating probes have chronicled a 2-decade rise in the temperature and thickness of a...
Cholesterol, the artery-clogging molecule that contributes to cardiovascular disease, has another nasty trick up its...
Until recently, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) kept its plans for its $70 million portion of the...
- 27 November 2013 12:59 pm , Vol. 342 , #6162
- About Us
ScienceShot: First Solar Sail Unfurls
11 June 2010 1:51 pm
Sailing though space on the ever-so-faint pressure of photons streaming from the sun used to be science fiction. But this week it became science fact as Japan's IKAROS spacecraft successfully spread its solar sail—the first time such a sail has been deployed in space. Centrifugal forces, generated by gently spinning the spacecraft, took a few days to spread out the square polyimide sail, which is 20 meters across diagonally and a mere 0.0075 millimeters thick. Previous designs, never really tested in space because of rocket failures, relied on struts to keep the sails tight. With the sail deployed, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, which launched IKAROS on 21 May, today proclaimed "minimum success" for the mission. Complete success will depend on acceleration and navigational tests over the next several months. In the meantime, IKAROS is slowly gliding towards Venus.
See more ScienceShots.