Harte Posted February 23, 2016 #26 Share Posted February 23, 2016 Hmm. At these sort of (relativistic..?) speeds? My understanding is that gravity slingshots/slowdowns have many limitations, including that you need to find something going (fast) in the right direction, and you also need to get very close if you need a major speed change. And of course for a solar wind slowdown, well, you need a Star in the right place and a big sail that you have to bring... I ain't a practising expert on those topics, but I do know that slowing down is as big a problem as speeding up, if you are talking about a spacecraft that has occupants... The solar wind braking would have to be in another solar system, where the star would be directly in front of you when you started braking. A minimal amount of solar braking is available within the same solar system because of the angles. You wouldn't be using such great speeds around our solar system. The article simply stated that such a speed could be reached in 10 seconds at the power output currently used. The benefit of the method is in the energy savings. Obviously, payload has to shrink. Missions are done as flybys though. Just bring the probe up to the speed you would have reached by rocket and it's the same mission with a lighter payload for less money. Note that the overall mass can be so reduced that it would make up for a lot of the payload loss, since the craft wouldn't necessarily have to withstand launch via rocket and a solar sail is pretty light. The only missions where you have to worry about slowing down would probably be manned and this tech is a long way from doing that. Harte 2 Top Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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