Re: Recycling solar sails

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Fri Mar 23 2001 - 12:05:04 MST

On Fri, 23 Mar 2001, Spike Jones wrote:

> > They can also make a solar shade
> > for the extracted fuel tanks during the trip back home to keep cooling
> > of the hydrogen simple.
> That sounds like the most reasonable use for them.

Not! Anything as thin as a solar sail conducts the heat right
through it. Its difficult to make a good IR reflector (perhaps
a dielectric). What you would really like to do is slow the
orbit of the asteroid down so its synchronons with the orbit
around the sun (like the moon). Then you could park your
hydrogen on the dark side -- it would get very cold.

You want to use the sail to increase your insolation on
your solar cells (teather it to the asteroid perhaps).
If you are clever you make the sail so it doesn't reflect
the UV wavelengths that can damage the solar cells.
Then you can make the cells *much* lighter (a big chunk
of the weight the material used to shield from the UV).


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