This project requires a few bits of basic dynamics which you may not have seen in previous courses, such as the relationship between forces, momentum and impulse. Please come talk to me in person if you have questions.
This project must be done by individuals.
Joe Aerospace decides to make a "solar sail" for his private spaceship. The "sail" uses radiation pressure from the Sun to move a ship, in the same way that a regular sail uses pressure from the wind. Joe uses ordinary aluminum foil (Reynolds Wrap or the equivalent) for his sail.
The Sun radiates a great deal of energy per second; see Appendix C for its power. Assume that all of this energy is emitted as photons of wavelengths 550 nanometers -- greenish-yellow light. These photons each have
energy E = 3.61 x 10^(-19) Joules momentum p = 1.21 x 10^(-27) kg*m/s
Joe's sail is a square, 100 meters on a side, located at the Earth's distance from the Sun. He orients it so that photons strike it face-on and bounce back towards the Sun.
This page maintained by Michael Richmond. Last modified Nov 1, 2004.
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