Scientists have found a way to travel in space farther and faster

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • Researchers from the California Institute of Technology published a study where objects can possibly be levitated with beams of light using microscopic nanoscale patterns.
  • Concepts from the study could mean the development of space crafts that can travel further and faster without the use of fuel.
  • It can also be used in manufacturing technology to speed up the process of producing small objects.

Turns out magnets aren’t the only things to make things levitate, scientists from California think they’ve found a way to do so using concentrated light. Details of the study were published online on the science journal Nature Photonics.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology believe that by using beams of light on objects covered with specially designed microscopic nanoscale patterns, these objects can be propelled without the use of fuel and possibly light sources that are millions of miles away.

This theory is opening up a lot of doors for progress in developing our space flight technology. This is because the application of this theory could mean that spacecraft can travel further, faster, and lighter than they have before.

Phys.org says that the application of the concept could mean that there wouldn’t be a need for onboard fuel. Developments in space flight could mean a spacecraft that could reach the nearest planet outside of our solar system in about 20 years.

To give some perspective to that, the Voyager space probe took around 26 years just to leave our solar system. Professor Harry Atwater, whose lab was used for the study, says that we’re a long way from creating a “new generation of spacecraft”, but they are “in the process of testing out the principles.”

The concepts from the US Air Force-funded study has its on-planet applications too. Technology using the concept, using beams of light to move small objects, on a larger scale could help speed up manufacturing of small objects like circuit boards.

 

Source: New York Post

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