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Space

+ - Electric Solar Sail to Propel Spacecraft Cheaper

mairas writes: "The electric solar wind sail, or a large set of long, thin conducting wires set up radially like the spokes of the wheel, may yet provide a relatively simple way to set up extremely large solar wind sails: a solar-powered electron gun is used to create a high positive voltage in the wires. Positively charged solar wind particles see the electric fields of the charged wires as opaque obstructions, thus accelerating the spacecraft. The article states that small payloads could be sent to Pluto in less than five years using electric solar wind sails."

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