Solar Wind Sail

Solar Wind Sail

C017/3331 Rights Managed

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Credit: Carol and Mike Werner/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Artist's concept of a spacecraft deploying an electric solar wind sail (e-sail). The solar wind is a high-speed stream of electrically charged gases -- ionized hydrogen and helium -- that flow outward from a star such as the sun. The e-sail array consists of many ultrafine electrified wires spinning to keep them stretched and to present an electrified barrier to the ions, much as a canvas sail does to the wind.

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