Japanese scientists are deploying a fascinating new experiment this week: a solar sail. First raised by science fiction writers like Jules Verne in 1865, the Japanese have launched a “space yacht” that will be propelled by a solar sail.
Unlike prior space sails, Ikaros will be the first to propel a spacecraft by sunlight. The 20m-wide sail will push the space craft toward Venus. Scientists are ignoring the fact that Icarus was the Greek who burned up when he flew too close to the sun.
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