Developing 0.01% Lightspeed Solar Sail Slingshot

A NASA NIAC phase 2 is developing Titanium Nitride solar sails that would be able to perform an extremely close flyby of the sun to achieve speeds of 60 AU per year. This would be over 15 times faster than the Voyager (3.6 AU per year) spacecraft.

They need to make metamaterial layers to achieve reflectivity. They have made the layers in the lab with over 70% reflection of light for less than 0.7 grams per square meter.

In phase 2, they will fabricate and test the material. They will explore how to scale fabrication. They will refine the solar sail design and explore making the boom lighter.

The goal is sub-$100 million missions that could be sent out of the solar system 30 times farther than Pluto with less than 20 year travel time.

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