Solar Sail Spacecraft

It has been proposed that an inflated sail, made of beryllium, that starts at 0. 05 AU from the Sun would gain an initial acceleration of 36. 4 m/s2, and reach a speed of 0. 00264c (about 950 km/s) in less than a day. Such proximity to the Sun could prove to be impractical in the near term due to the structural degradation of beryllium at high temperatures, diffusion of hydrogen at high temperatures as well as an electrostatic gradient, generated by the ionization of beryllium from the solar wind, posing a burst risk. A revised perihelion of 0. 1 AU would reduce the aforementioned temperature and solar flux exposure.
Such a sail would take “Two and a half years to reach the heliopause, six and a half years to reach the Sun’s inner gravitational focus, with arrival at the inner Oort Cloud in no more than thirty years. ” “Such a mission could perform useful astrophysical observations en route, explore gravitational focusing techniques, and image Oort Cloud objects while exploring particles and fields in that region that are of galactic rather than solar origin. ”

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