Yes its possible.

Since the dawn of time, man has dreamed of flying through space, and exploring new worlds. Until recently though, that idea was nothing more than an unrealistic dream. Currently, we only have the ability to go short distances through space, mainly because we just cannot go fast enough to reach any specific place in any human life time. Current technology will not seeing us jump into warp speed, or riding near the speed of light, so what can be done now to reach an acceptable speed?

Scientists have been developing a new type of material that would literally allow us to surf along beams of light. The idea is pretty simple actually. Think of how a sail on a ship would work: Air blows into the sail, allowing it to catch the air, and propels the boat forward. You’re probably asking yourself about now: What does air blowing have to do with sunlight? Your question would not be wrong. In fact, a sail in space would be virtually useless, as space is basically a vacuum without oxygen. However, this new sail design that is currently being manufactured is so light and reflective, that it could literally allow us to take what little energy sunlight produces, and let it catch our sails to propel us. This isn’t just a theory either, there is hard data to support that this sail could propel us to speeds we have currently only dreamed of reaching.

How fast would we be able to go?

That depends entirely on the size of the sail we produce. We would need a sail between 400-600 miles in diameter in order to propel us to the speeds we are looking for. With a sail this size, we could travel up to 1/16th the speed of light. There is a catch to this: In order to get the propulsion, we have to be close to the sun. Now I can see where this would be cause for concern, as we all know that if we get too close to the sun, we would burn up and die. The bright side (no pun intended) is that we would not have to get all that close in order to gain the energy we would need. After searching for a distance that would be suitable for attaining this speed, scientists have stated that we would only need to go as far as Mercury, and deploy sails from that point.

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  • PARAM on Aug 9, 2010

    Nice Share.

  • Anuradha Ramkumar on Aug 9, 2010

    A good one.

  • The SMS Man on Aug 10, 2010

    Great share….
    400-600 miles diameter. Hehehe! :D

  • Jimmy Shilaho on Aug 10, 2010

    You push your imagination a little too far.

  • Karen Gross on Aug 10, 2010

    It could happen in your lifetime, or we could have WWIII and spend so much money on military might that we have to give up the space program; maybe we will all blow each other up; or the Mayans could be right about the world ending in 2012; or maybe Jesus will come back. Or maybe nothing very eventful could happen during your lifetime. I have a vivid imagination too.

  • briantaylor1992 on Aug 10, 2010

    @The SMS Man I told you it was a very large sail heh.

    @Leo Tolstoy The idea of solar sails is not imagination at all actually Leo. Scientists proposed this idea a few years back, and believe that this could actually work. If it does, we could possibly see humans going much further than we ever imagined going before. I just hope that if this doesn’t work, that we find a way to travel the distances desired. The only imagination I have here is being a part of what makes these ideas work.

    @Karen Gross I hope it is in my lifetime, since I’m still young myself. Who knows, maybe if I really apply myself, I can be a part of making something that will help propel us into space. Now wouldn’t that be cool? heh.

  • Wiggles18 on Aug 12, 2010

    That would be wicked. I’d like a way to make a compact smaller sail work, so that you could have a space sailboard. Then I would put on some “Surfing with the alien” by Joe Satriani and just cruise the Universe. Hopefully the sails could also power me as well? :D

  • Ruby Hawk on Jun 30, 2011

    Our universe is so amazing, I can hardly believe. better than science fiction. I’m digging it.

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