Just as the Obama administration was busy drafting a plan aimed at overhauling the US space program, Japanese ingenuity and inventiveness was pushing the frontiers of science and technology farther ahead to inject a greed drive into its space program. All for their creative brilliance the Japanese are preparing for the launch of Ikaros spacecraft powered by solar radiation next month.
The Ikaros, an acronym for Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun– is a space yacht that uses solar sails for space travel instead of conventional fuel. The yacht gets propelled by the pressure of solar particles that bounce off the kite shaped sails. The flexible silver colored solar sails, which are thinner than a human hair, has solar cells to generate electricity thereby creating a hybrid technology of electricity and pressure.
Ikaros developed at the cost of 1.5 billion yen ($16 million) will also be the first use of the technology in deep space.