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SOLAR SAIL DESIGN CHALLENGE

Main Objective:

Designed by Daniel O. Peluso

Design a solar sail spacecraft. Final project needs to include a mission proposal, schematics, cost
analysis, instrument list, and prototype artwork.
Due Date and Delivery:
Due by the end of the school day on Monday, December 5, 2016. The mission proposal should
be emailed to arroyovista8science@gmail.com and the schematic and prototype artwork should
be handed in physical form. Include the first and last names of everyone in your group, and
which period you are in, on everything you turn in or youll lose points!
Materials:

Graph paper
Plain white paper or poster paper
Ruler
Pencils
Colored pencils or markers
Laptops
Provided Internet resources
Calculator

Mission Proposal Details:


Professional planetary scientists, astronomers, and the engineers that work with them on
planetary missions need to compete with thousands of other teams for grant money to fund their
missions. The competition for grant money to fund a planetary science or astronomy mission is
fierce and very competitive.
Imagine you and your team are scientists competing for grant money, a spot on a NASA
program, or trying to win over the purses of billionaire philanthropists, such as Yuri Milner or
Elon Musk. Write a 1-3 paragraph mission proposal outlining the objective of your mission and
why it should be funded over the other teams competing for the same funds. It should be well-

drafted, void of spelling and minor grammatical errors, and be compelling. This is your chance to
sell you mission idea!
Include the following:
First and last name of everyone in group and which period youre in.
Mission objective
o What is you mission goal? What are you trying to find out or solve?
Spacecraft name
o Examples of current/past NASA mission/spacecraft names: Hubble Space
Telescope, Kepler Space Telescope, Mars Express, New Horizons, OSIRIS-Rex,
etc.
Length of mission
Destination
How Newtons Three Laws of Motion allow this spacecraft to work (you must briefly
explain how all three of them work here)
Cost Analysis
o This is in addition to the 1-3 paragraphs and should be included as a table
Instrument list
o This is also in addition to the 1-3 paragraphs
o Try to include reasoning for choosing listed instruments
Conclusion
Schematics:
Your engineer, or engineering team, will need to submit a schematic of your spacecraft. This
should include a scale drawing of your spacecraft before launch (this is before sails are
deployed), and after it is in space (after sails deployed). Be sure to:
Label all parts with clear handwriting in print (no cursive).
Use a straight edge (ruler) for all lines
Include a legend or scale bar to define the proportional size of your model
Include a small specifications table (http://sail.planetary.org/faq.html is your friend)
Keep it in black and white or pencil. No color
Prototype Artwork:
Getting the public behind your mission increases support and can greatly improve your chances
of getting funded. Also, agencies, especially government agencies like NASA, will be more
likely to fund a mission that is polished, professional, and ready to appeal to the public. This
includes having graphics, and sometime even an animation, to promote and sell the vision of
your mission.
Appoint an artist in your group to draw and color a poster for your spacecraft. Be creative and
feel free to add an emblem to the sail (dont use over 10 billion sold as McDonalds doesnt need
any free advertising).

Artwork must:
Have color
Show creativity and effort
Have mission or spacecraft name in large creative text on top or bottom of poster
Include the final destination (or one of the destinations if multiple) as background to the
spacecraft
This site has good examples of artwork:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/theplanetarysociety/lightsail-a-revolutionary-solar-sailingspacecraft
Helpful Notes and Parameter Restrictions:

Your spacecraft must include a solar sail


For size:
o (1) You can use similar specs as The Planetary Society, 5kg,
(http://sail.planetary.org/faq.html)
o (2) Or, slightly larger, but no more than 100 kg
o (3) Or, as small as Starshot, create a nanocraft, 1 g
Starshot size offers greatest speed and lowest cost per payload
Speed characteristics using 100 gigawatt laser (estimated from NASAs Roadmap to
Interstellar Flight paper):
!"#"$%
o For sizes of both (1) and (3) you can use 50,000,000
, which is slightly less
%"&'()
than 20% the speed of light
!"#"$%
o For size of (2), at 100 kg, use 3,000,000
, which is about 1% the speed of
%"&'()
light
Speed characteristics using just the Sun (like Planetary Society):
!"#"$%
o Only estimate available is for option (1) above, 2,376
, which is attained
%"&'()
after 16 months of constant Sun light
Distance and time to reach destination:
o Ask me for help! Calculations can be tough and Ill walk you through it. I can
also help you pick a destination, if youre unsure where to go.
Cost:
o This is tricky. Estimating precise costs for something like this would take longer
than we have and require more resources that are mostly unavailable to the public.
Thus, we will be making educated guesses on cost.
o For reference:
Starshot has been estimated to cost around $10 billion. See here some
breakdown: http://www.popsci.com/three-questions-for-breakthroughstarshot
The Planetary Society Light Sail has been estimated to be about $5.45
million

Powerful 100 gigawatt laser = BIG cost. If you want to lower cost, just use
option (1), but this limits speed and destination choices (unless you plan to
live for 100s or thousands of years).
An Apple iPhone 7 only costs Apple around $220 to purchase component
parts
Average cost to launch space shuttle is around $450 million per mission
(this means this launch is solely for you)
Estimated price to launch a CubeSat (small satellites similar in size to
Planetary Societys Light Sail) is about $100,000 per unit (this is if youre
hopping a ride on another larger mission)
Instrument possibilities and other components worth considering:
o Spectrometer
o Accelerometer
o Magnetometer
o Gyroscope
o Imaging telescope
o Thermal infrared imaging
o Camera
o Radar
o Power source
o Radio transmitter/receiver
This has a lot of complicated stuff in it, but includes some very helpful Easter eggs that
could help with schematics and instrument selection:
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20120015076.pdf
Ask for help if you feel stuck and good luck!