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Year Three

We hope to have narrowed down the candidate dust materials to 3 or 4 samples that we rigorously test for suitability as a plasma sail. Degradation under solar UV can be simulated with elevated temperatures and intense laser irradiation. Spectroscopic analysis can be done as a function of time and temperature, looking for changes in the reflective properties of dust as it ages. We also consider the issues of deployment, how the dust can be introduced from a canister into the plasma environment. Our goal is to have enough data that a flight test can be implemented after this point.

Robert Sheldon 2001-09-18