Re: Recycling solar sails

From: Michael Lorrey (
Date: Fri Mar 23 2001 - 09:49:21 MST

the solar oven idea is great for amplifying the output of the limited
quantity of solar cells you have initially. Concentrate that sunpower.

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> While we all seem to be in space colonisation mode, what about
> re-using solar sail material?
> In my asteroid mining scheme, I send extra equipment using solar sails
> to the NEO mining base. So what do we do with them once at Orpheus; we
> can't have them litter the landscape. A solar sail would make a
> rather easily constructed solar oven when bent into a paraboloid and
> somehow anchored to the asteroid. They can also make a solar shade
> for the extracted fuel tanks during the trip back home to keep cooling
> of the hydrogen simple.
> Would it make economic sense to send them back to Earth to receive new
> cargos (I guess they are not that useful for transporting propellant
> or other heavy products from the asteroid)?
> Another use would be for the aerobraking part of the mission, where
> the fuel tanks are aerobraked for entry into LEO. The sails are
> definitely too flimsy to survive aerobraking in themselves, but I
> wonder if they might help provide some extra drag during the first
> pass. Any views on this?

They'd get shredded.

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