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Home > News > Japan to launch Venus probe and 'space yacht'

May 17th, 2010

Japan to launch Venus probe and 'space yacht'

Abstract:
The H-IIA rocket was positioned at the Tanegashima space centre in southern Japan in fair weather for its lift-off 6:44am (local time Tuesday), said the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

It will blast off with the "space yacht" Ikaros - an acronym for Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun - which moves thanks to the pressure of sunlight particles hitting its square sail.

The experimental spacecraft's sail, thinner than a human hair, is also equipped with thin-film solar cells to generate electricity, creating what JAXA calls "a hybrid technology of electricity and pressure."

The technology could enable space travel without fuel as long as there is sunlight, its developers say.

Source:
abc.net.au

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