More images of Ikaros


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A new picture of the Japanese solar sail Ikaros has been released, showing the sail in operation. By turning power on and off to different sections along the sail’s rim, engineers can change the way light reflects off those sections to control the sail’s attitude in space without using fuel. Note also that the power comes from sunlight, not from batteries. The picture below illustrates this, with different parts of the rim either bright or dark, depending on whether they are powered or not.

Ikaros as seen on June 19, 2010

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