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Friday, March 19, 2010

Sail Your Name to Venus and the Stars!

The Planetary Society is collecting names and messages to fly on two exciting solar sail missions: Our own LightSail mission and JAXA’s IKAROS mission. The last day to send messages on IKAROS now Sunday, March 22. However, you will still be able to send messages on the LightSail mission for a few more months.

Lightsail, a project of The Planetary Society, will merge the ultra-light technology of nanosats with the ultra-large technology of solar sails setting a course to the stars. LightSail-1 is the beginning of an innovative program that will launch three separate spacecraft over the course of several years.

IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun) is a solar sail which gathers sunlight as propulsion by means of a large sail. This solar powered sail craft will employ both photon propulsion and thin film solar power generation during its interplanetary cruise. IKAROS will be launched together with the [vid] Venus Climate Orbiter, 'Akatsuki' in fiscal 2010 by JAXA.

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