A laser mounted on the moon could propel small spacecraft carrying light sails through space to help us explore faster and map distant regions for the first time

Space



7 September 2022

Artist's impression of CubeSats orbiting Earth.

Attaching light sails to CubeSats could allow them to be propelled across space by lasers

ESA/Medialab

A swarm of tiny spacecraft propelled by a powerful laser could enable us to more rapidly explore space, and they would work as a network to map out the properties of bodies in our solar system like the sun and distant planets.

One possible method for reaching other planets and stars is by using a light sail, a thin material that can be pushed through space by particles of light, or photons, at high speed. …



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