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Momentum Imparted by photons and acceleration due to it.

A possible means of space flight is to place a perfectly reflecting aluminized sheet into Earth's orbit and use the light from the Sun to push this solar sail. Suppose a sail of area 6.00 X 10^4 m^2 and mass 6000 kg is placed in orbit facing the sun. The solar intensity of 1380 W/m^2.

a. What force is exerted on the sail?

b. What is the sail's acceleration?

c. How long does it take the sail to reach the Moon, 3.84 X 10^8 m away? Ignore all gravitational effects and assume that the acceleration calculated in part b remains constant.

Solution Summary

The momentum imparted by the photons in the sunlight on a sheet is calculated and then the acceleration and time taken to move is calculated.