Speaker: Dr Thomas Waters
Solar sails are a novel type of spacecraft which are attracting more and more attention both from the big space agencies and smaller private commercial firms. They are essentially large light-weight mirrors, and as sunlight reflects off the mirror it imparts a tiny force. This provides the solar sail with an essentially free supply of fuel, but also solar sails are capable of a whole new class of orbits which conventional spacecraft cannot access. This talk hopes to introduce the solar sail concept, discuss some of the current and proposed solar sail missions, and sketch some of the complex dynamics in an accessible way.