Solar Sail Unfurls (NASA)
Image by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
NanoSail-D deployment: The sail, made of extremely lightweight gossamer fabric manufactured by ManTech SRS of Huntsville, Ala. begins to unfurl supported by rigid trac booms provided by The Air Force Research Laboratory. The sail material is much thinner than a piece of paper (less than 1/16th the thickness of a human hair) and coated with an extremely thin layer of aluminum to enhance its ability to reflect solar energy. Here on Earth, gravity prevents the doors from fully opening but in the microgravity of space, the doors will swing open freely.
Credit: NASA/MSFC/D. Higginbotham
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