Solar sailing ship successfully tested in space
Honestly, I really like the genre of "science fiction" - because where, if not here, you can come up with grandiose ideas that anticipate the future for a couple of hundred years? Often the ideas provided by apologists of NF are picked up, and as a result we see dreams embodied in reality. The idea of a “solar sailing ship”, a spaceship with a huge sail hundreds of square kilometers, accelerated by photons of the star, has been used several times in various novels and stories of the mentioned genre (I myself remember somewhere 3-4 works with a description of such technology). Now, instead of science fiction, you can read the report on the tests of the Japanese spacecraft with a solar sail.
The name of this spacecraft is Ikaros (we all understand why it is so named), and after the successful launch of the solar ship into outer space, as well as after the equally successful deployment of the sail, the stage of checking Ikaros maneuverability is now beginning. Let me remind you what the principle of operation of such a ship is - its movement is due to the "solar wind" - photon fluxes generously given away by our luminary. Such pressure is minimal, but theoretically, a ship with a "solar" thrust can reach a speed of one third (or higher) of the speed of light. It is clear that to achieve such a speed requires a lot of time, but the fact remains that no fuel engines that are available now can accelerate the ship to such a speed.
Of course, now no one is thinking about overclocking Ikaros to a similar value. This is the first spaceship of this kind (unmanned), which is being tested by the Japanese on the subject of the reality of using such ships in outer space. Navigation is carried out by rebuilding the sails, changing their orientation in space. In general, an almost complete analogy with the wind, with certain assumptions.
In any case, the launch of such a ship is a landmark - despite the fact that this event is not so much covered in the media, Ikaros is a new word in space technology. Its designers, like many science fiction writers, believe that long-distance travel in space will be possible precisely thanks to such spacecraft.
Of course, let's look at how the stage of testing the navigation abilities of Ikaros will go, but for some reason it seems to me that everything will end well. But such a solar sail can simultaneously serve as a source of solar energy, with such and such an area (no, not hundreds of square kilometers, but this is so far), which will allow future “solar scientists” to forget about problems with energy supply.
Well, wish the luck to the Japanese and their creation, “seven feet under the keel” to wish, or something.