Starsailing: Solar Sails and Interstellar Travel

Louis Friedman, Author John Wiley & Sons $9.95 (146p) ISBN 978-0-471-62593-3
Cofounder (with Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray) of the Planetary Society, Friedman spent 10 years working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he was involved in, among other projects, research on solar sailing. (Three times NASA has rejected the solar sail, which operates on sunlight pressure and uses no fuel.) Friedman describes how the sails work and outlines their history, beginning with the first scientific paper on the subject, written under a pseudonym by engineer Carl Wiley for a 1951 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. In nontechnical language, the author covers the physics of solar sailing, problems of solar navigation, the design and construction of solar sail spacecraft and its promise for the future: ""Used as an interplanetary shuttle, the sail would enable us to collect samples on Mars and other planets on a continuing basis.'' The 72 illustrations include diagrams, paintings and photos. This visionary volume, one of an excellent series of lay science Wiley Science Edition books, is recommended to anyone interested in science. (January)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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