Solar sailing

Date: Wed Feb 28 2001 - 10:11:37 MST

Spike wrote:
> Eliezer, Minsky was the same guy who was the dinner speaking at
> the first west coast Foresight Nanocon, which was in about 1990 or
> 91. He dismissed solar sailing by claiming that even if nanotech
> could produce a sheet of aluminum a single atom thick, then the
> gravitational force of the sun would be greater than the light
> pressure from the sun, and that since both fields fall off as the
> inverse square of the distance, solar gravity is greater than
> solar light pressure everywhere.

Even if this were true, solar sailing would still work, right? You would
use the sail at an angle to speed up or slow down your orbital speed,
thereby enlarging or shrinking the orbital radius. In this way you
could maneuver to any orbit in the solar system, eventually (watch out
for those planets though).


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