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Copernicus; edition 22 August Language: Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a product review. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. A recommended read for the ones fascinated by approaches to interplanetary travel. Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. This is an excellent book on the technology of solar sails and the first I've read that goes into so much detail. Most of the book explains why various types of rocket technology are inadequate for traversing deep space and why solar sails fill the requirements.
The details on construction of solar sails are excellent. Finally there are some concluding chapters that delve into the math of sailcraft propulsion. It's hard to find any fault with this book. I would have liked some more details on actual mission profiles and payloads, but I appreciate that would have been too speculative. For anyone interested in this form of propulsion that has been waiting in the wings for decades, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Not a casual read, but worth every moment if you're interested in the possibilities of real-world interstellar travel. Nasa's next sail experiment is scheduled to fly aboard the first STS launch. Let's hope it works. I've been reading this book on the I've been reading this book on the side in between homework and classes.
This book is great because it feels like leisure reading, yet it still incorporates technical material that scientists and engineers will appreciate. This is a review of Solar Sails: The vast laser-driven sails envisioned by Robert Forward have always fired my imagination. Hundreds of kilometers in diameter, they would rely upon a gigantic Fresnel lens in the outer Solar System to keep the critical laser beam tightly collimated over interstellar distances.
Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel
Forward conceived of mission designs to stars as far away as Epsilon Eridani, journeys that could be achieved within a human lifetime. He even provided return capability through the use of a multi-part sail. You can read a fictional treatment of this in his novel Rocheworld. But how do we get from here to there? As of today, we're close enough to having an operational space sail that if we can talk SpaceX into lofting the NanoSail-D duplicate, we could be shaking out our first space sail within months.
Assuming we do go operational before too many months or years! Such questions point to the pleasures of reading a new book on solar sails by three leading experts. Gregory Matloff has been examining the concept for the past thirty years, with seminal papers in the s and continuing work on near-term concepts.
The third author is Italian scientist Giovanni Vulpetti, who has spent most of his professional life on questions of interstellar propulsion ranging from antimatter annihilation to sail design, including the Aurora Project, a sail mission to the heliopause that grew out of earlier work at Italian aerospace firm Alenia Spazio and other European venues. You would be hard pressed, in other words, to find a more knowledgable team to write a book titled Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel Copernicus, , and it's a pleasure to add that despite the sub-title, questions of interstellar significance receive solid treatment.
Getting from here a technology ready to fly for testing to there a genuine interstellar craft deploying sail technology is a long haul, but near-term concepts for a Solar Polar Imager, putting a payload into a highly inclined orbit around the Sun to study its polar regions, are feasible. And so are missions like Heliostorm, which could use a sail to maintain a position between Earth and the Sun at roughly 0.
Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel by Giovanni Vulpetti
We can add longer-term prospects that still fall well within our engineering capabilities, missions for comet rendezvous, Mars sample return and, via a Sundiver maneuver, a probe to the heliopause some AU out. The latter, the authors note, could continue for a few decades more to study the environment at the Sun's gravitational lens some AU from Sol, providing a useful check on Einsteinian general relativity. All of these concepts and more are discussed here, but it's the longer-term missions still using solar photons, not beamed lasers that truly up the ante.
I remember talking to Matloff about them during a Huntsville visit some years back, but the book lays them out sequentially, showing us the limits of the technology in terms of true interstellar missions, and pointing us toward the laser and other beaming options that may be necessary if we are to improve travel times significantly. For in addition to the outer system work we'd like to perform, examining NEO deflection or developing mining strategies for interesting objects, we'd like to get all the way out to the Oort Cloud, where as many as a trillon comets may lurk.
A specialized task indeed, as the authors note: Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Solar Sails by Giovanni Vulpetti. Les Johnson Goodreads Author.
A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel 4. Solar sail technology is very close to becoming an engineering reality and it will soon be used in the exploration of the solar system and beyond. This fascinating book provides an accessible introduction to solar sails and details how they work and what they will be used for in the exploration of space. It also examines current plans for solar sails and how advanced techn Solar sail technology is very close to becoming an engineering reality and it will soon be used in the exploration of the solar system and beyond.
It also examines current plans for solar sails and how advanced technology, such as nanotechnology, might enhance their performance. Coverage shows how solar sail propulsion will make space exploration more affordable and demonstrates how access to destinations within and beyond the solar system will become within reach. Hardcover , pages.
Published July 31st by Copernicus first published July 23rd To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Solar Sails , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Dec 27, Gary Patella rated it it was ok. The concept of solar sailing is very interesting, but this book does contain flaws.
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It starts out very well, and gives descriptions of the intricacies of sailboats. Showing all of the different factors that go into sailing on the ocean, it then gives analogies to solar sailing where the photons are analogous to the wind.
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This was all well-written and well-explained. Unfortunately, the book then changes to a point of view that is so overly optimistic that it borders on science fiction. The autho The concept of solar sailing is very interesting, but this book does contain flaws. The authors describe solar sails and how they would theoretically work. The important thing to remember is that we still have no actual proof of concept. But this is almost entirely glossed over. There was a description of a mission from JAXA where a solar sail was deployed but didn't unfurl properly.
This mission was considered a success by the authors, who then went on to state that if the sail had been deployed properly, it would have been even more successful. From an empirical standpoint, this is simply untrue. If the sail had been deployed properly and the spacecraft was able to be propelled merely from the impact of the photons on the solar sail, THEN it would be a great success. But there could be other factors with light not hitting the sails as evenly as predicted, the light not providing enough thrust as predicted, or too much space debris stopping an even flow of light for a solar sail to work.
But all of this is completely ignored. Another huge problem comes with the equations themselves. The explanations of the equations are extremely inconsistent. But when it comes to the complex equations for solar sails that include some variables created specifically for solar sails, the authors sometimes only explain what half of the variables stand for. Also, there are many times where an equation is supposed to show what is happening on a particular chart.
But the equation is semi complicated and contains some calculus, while the chart can be used in kindergarten showing circles of orbits around the sun. Overall, I was hoping to gain a lot more out of this book than I did. Tobias Buckell rated it liked it Nov 12, Rebecca Lyons rated it really liked it Dec 24,