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Bill Nye explains the science behind the solar sails that could revolutionise space travel

19 August 2019

sun appearing past the earth from space

The solar sail is propelled only by sunlight and its technology holds promise that someday it could be used to travel the galaxy. The giant sails are made of very lightweight, reflective material that is upwards of 100 times thinner than an average sheet of stationery. 

Watch and read

Additional resources: How solar sails work

Indicators of progression for discussion starters

Component Indicator Level
Characteristics of technology Use this and other examples to identify examples where technology has changed people’s sensory perception and/or physical abilities and discuss the potential short and long term impacts of these 4
Technological products Use this and other examples to describe the properties of materials used in particular products that can be measured objectively 3

Image courtesy Arek Socha from Pixabay

Keywords: sails, solar, space, materials, digital, construction and mechanical, characteristics of technology, technological products

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