24 February 2019
Graphene, a form of carbon consisting of just one atom-thick layer, could enable light-powered propulsion technology leading to fuel-free spacecraft. The reach in distance by traditional spacecraft depends on the amount of chemical propellants they carry, said Song Shengju, the research leader at the CALT. Previous research conducted by Professor Chen Yongsheng, of Nankai University, showed that sails made of graphene can be driven by various light sources including sunlight, and the thrust generated is 1,000 times higher than that of polyimide film in vacuum conditions. "It's just the beginning. We need to conduct further research on the mechanisms and properties of the graphene and light-powered spacecraft. If we make breakthroughs in this technology, it would facilitate exploration to the unknown universe," Song said.
MORE...