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.

Comments (41)

  1. Breakthrough Initiatives:

    Dear Alejandro,

    Thank you for your creative an novel ideas for light sail geometries. We certainly appreciate new approaches for this important problem. We have just completed selection of a number of research teams to look at the light sail problems. And with your permission we will be happy to have them consider your ideas. This may take some time as we have just begun our study process.

    Once again, thank you for your input.

    Kind Regards,

    S. Pete Worden, Executive Director, Breakthrough StarShot

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