The following is based on a translation of a report in Chinese media:
According to xinhuanet.com’s report on June 19, through 3 years of research, Prof. Chen Yongsheng of the College of Chemistry and Prof. Tian Jianguo of the Institute of Physics, Nankai University have obtained a special graphene material for light-driven flight.
Due to the special electronic characteristic of graphene and the macrostructure and form of the material, the material is able to get driving force from light 1,000 times greater than ordinary light pressure.
The website’s reporter claimed to have seen with his own eyes a graphene sponge in the shape of a round biscuit move 40 cm horizontally and vertically with the propulsion of various kinds of light.
Prof. Chen said that according to his calculation, a 500kg load with a driving sail made of the graphene material can get at least an acceleration of 0.09 m/s in theory.
To date, chemical propulsion is used for almost all aviation and spaceflight, but chemical propulsion limited exploration of the universe due to the limit of chemical fuel a spaceship can carry.
As there is light in the universe, flight directly propelled by light has long been scientists’ and astronauts’ dream.
Now China will make such a dream come true.
Source: xinhuanet.com – “China’s new material can fly by light propulsion, the first ever time light is used to propel an object” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
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