Stability of solar sails


Dr. Várkonyi Péter

Year: 2024

Stability of solar sails

Solar sails are space structures of large surface area that harness the thrust of solar radiation. They can be used to propel spacecraft, but there have also been proposals to counteract global warming with giant solar sails. Ideally, a solar sail is self-stabilizing, i.e. it is always oriented in a particular direction by the forces acting on it, like a “Wheeble” toy. How does the stability of a solar sail depend on its shape? How can we design a stable sail?

Picture: Andrzej Mirecki.