solar sail

noun

Definition of solar sail

: a propulsive device for a spacecraft that consists of a flat material (such as aluminized plastic) designed to receive thrust from solar radiation pressure

Examples of solar sail in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This artificial object named 2020 SO was not designed to be a solar sail but had thin walls with a large surface-to-mass ratio for a different purpose. Avi Loeb, Scientific American, 22 June 2021 Thus, even for a highly-advanced civilization, the authors argue that such a solar sail probe would be a project that would have no constituency. Bruce Dorminey, Forbes, 25 May 2021 With a solar sail, a spacecraft could keep going to the moon, to asteroids, to Jupiter — to anywhere the wind of light blows, using no fuel at all. NBC News, 3 June 2019 After about a month, atmospheric drag will overpower the solar sail, ending the test. Robert Z. Pearlman, Scientific American, 23 July 2019 Later on, solar sails might also make new types of missions possible. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, 23 Jan. 2020 LightSail 1 eventually became the next solar sail to safely reach space in 2015. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, 23 Jan. 2020 On and around Earth, solar winds interfere with satellites, create auroras, and power solar sails in orbit. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, 31 July 2019 By changing the angle of the sail relative to the Sun, a solar sail can theoretically raise its orbit, and this was the test the Planetary Society set for itself with the LightSail 2 mission. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 2 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'solar sail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of solar sail

1958, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About solar sail

Time Traveler for solar sail

Time Traveler

The first known use of solar sail was in 1958

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near solar sail

solars

solar sail

solar salt

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for solar sail

Cite this Entry

“Solar sail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/solar%20sail. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!