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dc.contributor.authorForgan, Duncan H.
dc.contributor.authorHeller, René
dc.contributor.authorHippke, Michael
dc.identifier.citationForgan , D H , Heller , R & Hippke , M 2018 , ' Photogravimagnetic assists of light sails : a mixed blessing for Breakthrough Starshot? ' Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society , vol. 474 , no. 3 , pp. 3212-3220 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 252090769
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: ba1526b0-d1df-4045-bd08-16e94b795e5f
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85040254963
dc.descriptionDF gratefully acknowledges support from the ECOGAL project, grant agreement 291227, funded by the European Research Council under ERC-2011-ADG. This work was supported in part by the German space agency (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt) under PLATO Data Center grant 50OO1501.en
dc.description.abstractUpon entering a star system, light sails are subject to both gravitational forces and radiation pressure, and can use both in concert to modify their trajectory. Moreover, stars possess significant magnetic fields, and if the sail is in any way charged, it will feel the Lorentz force also. We investigate the dynamics of so-called 'photogravimagnetic assists' of sailcraft around α Centauri A, a potential first destination en route to Proxima Centauri (the goal of the Breakthrough Starshot programme). We find that a 10-m2 sail with a charge-to-mass ratio of around 10 μC g-1 or higher will need to take account of magnetic field effects during orbital manoeuvres. The magnetic field can provide an extra source of deceleration and deflection, and allow capture on to closer orbits around a target star. However, flipping the sign of the sailcraft's charge can radically change resulting trajectories, resulting in complex loop-de-loops around magnetic field lines and essentially random ejection from the star system. Even on well-behaved trajectories, the field can generate off-axis deflections at α Centauri that, while minor, can result in very poor targeting of the final destination (Proxima) post-assist. Fortunately for Breakthrough Starshot, nanosails are less prone to charging en route than their heavier counterparts, but can still accrue relatively high charge at both the origin and destination, when travelling at low speeds. Photogravimagnetic assists are highly non-trivial, and require careful course correction to mitigate against unwanted changes in trajectory.en
dc.relation.ispartofMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Societyen
dc.rights© 2017 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the final published version of the work, which was originally published at:
dc.subjectMagnetic fieldsen
dc.subjectMethods: numericalen
dc.subjectSolar neighbourhooden
dc.subjectSpace vehiclesen
dc.subjectQB Astronomyen
dc.subjectAstronomy and Astrophysicsen
dc.subjectSpace and Planetary Scienceen
dc.titlePhotogravimagnetic assists of light sails : a mixed blessing for Breakthrough Starshot?en
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.description.versionPublisher PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. St Andrews Centre for Exoplanet Scienceen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. School of Physics and Astronomyen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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