Here’s something really cool: Electric Sail (E-sail)
propulsion system, invented by Dr. Pekka Janhunen of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, has been funded by NASA. It’s exciting for many reasons.
Once operational, its technology is expected to revolutionize the space travel within our solar system.
The innovation is based on using long centrifugally spanned and electrically charged tethers to extract the solar wind momentum for spacecraft thrust. An E-Sail propelled spacecraft can travel 100 AU (astronomical unit,
roughly the distance from the Earth to the Sun) in less than 10 years. Also, the system can provide rapid transits so researchers could begin to get data back from outer planetary missions faster.
What’s more, both Finland and Estonia are involved in
testing the technology (satellites Aalto and ESTCube), so I’ve had a chance to hear about possible future missions. I have chatted with the inventor himself in Estonia for a couple of times, and he’s a really smart and nice person. He was impressed with my blog!😄