Credit: RUSSELL KIGHTLEY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Photon drive spacecraft, animation. This is a theoretical spacecraft that would be propelled using the momentum of the photons in a laser beam. A sail-like, thin membrane would be the target for the laser. As the photons reflect off the sail, the momentum transfer would slowly but surely send the sail and attached spacecraft accelerating outwards. The acceleration would be very low but continuous, eventually allowing very high speeds to be attained. This method has long been proposed as one of the ways to send spacecraft to nearby stars, but usually involving relatively large spacecraft. In 2016, a programme was launched to develop this technology to send computer-chip sized spacecraft to nearby stars with a journey time of 30 years, reaching around 20 percent of the speed of light.

Release details: Model release not required. Property release not required.

Keywords: 21st century, advanced, animated, animation, artwork, beam, energy, exploration, graphic, high intensity, illustration, interstellar travel, laser, laser sail, light, no-one, nobody, photon drive, photonic, power, powerful, science fiction, solar sail, space, space flight, spacecraft, spaceflight, technological, technology, travel, universe

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Photon drive spacecraft, animation

K005/5732 Rights Managed

Downloadable master

Duration: 00:00:16.02

Frame size: 1920x1080

Frame rate: 30

Audio: No

Format: QuickTime, Photo JPEG 100%, progressive scan, square pixels

File size: 353.5M

Original

Capture format: QuickTime Animation

Codec: H.264

Please contact Science Photo Library if you require the original, or other formats.

 

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