EU-Backed ‘Electric Sail’ Could Be the Fastest Man-Made Device Ever Built


The EU is funding a three-year project at the Finnish Meteorological Institute to build the fastest man-made device in the universe: an electric sail, or ESAIL, that researchers say could make Pluto in just five years’ time.

(…) The ESAIL is propelled by solar radiation and therefore requires no chemical or ion propellant. But rather than actually unfurling a huge membranous sail to catch photons from the sun to provide thrust, the ESAIL repels protons.

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