Lightsail | Structure

Building a skeleton structure that will be able to hold the sail in shape during launch, be resilient to the interaction with the interstellar medium and potentially be able to modify the shape of the sail, is a major challenge given the gram-scale mass constraint. There are a number of composite graphene-based materials that are being considered. These materials change their length depending on the voltage applied across them. There are also various other materials that could be engineered to meet mission requirements. This challenge is the primary argument for ‘replacing structure with spin’: it has already ben demonstrated that centripetal acceleration of tiny tip masses can pull the sail flat.

Jul 15, 2017 03:08 Breakthrough Initiatives Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

RE:
Apr 19, 2017 14:08michael.million@sky.com Posted on: Centauri Dreams

Answer:
Slowing the sail down would be extremely difficult in practice (more difficult in many ways than the original Starshot mission concept). It may be possible farther out in the future with different technology.

– Zac Manchester, Breakthrough Initiatives

Jul 15, 2017 03:22 Breakthrough Initiatives Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

RE:
Apr 21, 2017 12:50michael.million@sky.com Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

Answer:
Slowing down the sail is not really practical from an engineering standpoint, even with exotic materials like graphene.

– Zac Manchester, Breakthrough Initiatives

Jul 15, 2017 03:33 Breakthrough Initiatives Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

RE:
Apr 28, 2017 09:21 michael.million@sky.com Posted on: Centauri Dreams

Answer:
That’s very cool. We’re looking into a wide range of lightweight highly reflective materials, including metamaterials.

– Zac Manchester, Breakthrough Initiatives

Jul 15, 2017 03:34 Breakthrough Initiatives Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

RE:
Apr 28, 2017 09:43 michael.million@sky.com Posted on: Centauri Dreams

Answer:
Very cool. Some kind of steerable mirror like this will probably be necessary to make the communication system work.

– Zac Manchester, Breakthrough Initiatives

Jul 15, 2017 03:35 Breakthrough Initiatives Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

RE:
Apr 29, 2017 10:36 michael.million@sky.com Posted on: Centauri Dreams

Answer:
We’re looking into a variety of methods for integrating electronics onto the sail, including various ways of printing or patterning electronics directly on the sail material.

– Zac Manchester, Breakthrough Initiatives

Jul 15, 2017 03:37 Breakthrough Initiatives Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

RE:
Jun 11, 2017 17:24 Robert Clark Posted on: Centauri Dreams

Answer:
That’s very cool. We’re looking into many different materials for the sail. It’s likely that new kinds of engineered materials will have to be developed.

– Zac Manchester, Breakthrough Initiatives

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