As the previous posts of today have looked variously at the recent and distant past, here’s a link to an article at Centauri Dreams, from which this is an excerpt:
What we now know is that we cannot, in economic times like these, count on government agencies to proceed with the next step. The Planetary Society has raised the needed money (boosted considerably by a $1 million donation) to build Lightsail-1, creating the vehicle out of three Cubesat spacecraft. Based on early reports, the spacecraft sounds much like the NanoSail-D sailcraft created at Marshall Space Flight Center. Planetary Society vice-president Bill Nye notes, “To get sunlight to push us through space, we need a large sail attached to a small spacecraft. Lightsail-1 fits into a volume of just three liters before the sails unfurl to fly on light. It’s elegant.” NanoSail-D, likewise, is small enough to fit into a suitcase.
As and when I get more time in the future, I’d like to add more content here regarding the human exploration of space, the search for exoplanets and the strange array of other solar systems we encounter as a result, plus a great deal more besides. Until that happens though, I’d recommend readers to check Centauri Dreams on a regular basis, being as it is a source of good clear writing explaining in detail just what we humans will be considering in the near and distant future with regard to our attempts to explore our solar system, galaxy and the Universe at large, through the combined efforts of telescopic arrays, robotic craft, and maybe one day even humans once again, although for the time being, manned projects appear to be lodged firmly on the back-burner.