Extreme metamaterial ceramic solar sails survive a close pass of our sun to reach speeds of 60-70AU per year which is over 0.1% of light speed. Theis propel low mass spacecraft using a dive to extreme proximity to the sun (just 2-5 solar radii). This velocity is 20 times more than Voyager 1. The technology enables reaching Jupiter in 5 months, Neptune in 10, surpassing Voyager 1 in 2.5 years and getting to the solar gravity lens location in just 8.5 years.
Metal sails that can survive a 5 solar radii pass of the sun would be able to go at 40AU per year. These systems could reach the solar gravity lens (600 AU) in about 15 years. Two-meter telescopes at the gravitational lens would be able to image megapixel resolution images of exoplanets.
Artur Davoyan works with Turyshev. Turyshev has the NIAC study on gravitational lens missions. Turyshev has proposed launching telescopes to the solar gravitational lens starting in 2028. If the materials that are can handle more heat and do not absorb as much heat can be used for solar sails, then they could reach the lens in 2037-2043.
Roccor LLC has a grant to develop 1000 to 10,000 square meter solar sails. They are developing composite trussed trac (T-Trac) boom systems. The original Trac will be flight validated on the upcoming near earth asteroid scout mission. T-TRAC has a triangular cross-section. Roccor holds an exclusive license for the Flexible Unfurlable and Refurlable Lightweight (FURL) solar sail developed and tested by the Air Force Research Laboratory.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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