HENNING DALHOFF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY HENNING DALHOFF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Artwork showing deployment of IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun), a Japanese experimental spacecraft propelled by solar sail technology. Solar sails are large mirrored membranes moved by the pressure of photons (light) emitted from the Sun. The IKAROS probe is the first spacecraft to use solar sail technology as its main propulsion. It was launched in May 2010 by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and successfully completed its planned mission.
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