We are only a few hours away from a monumental experiment in space craft propulsion. Ever tried sailing on sunlight?
The Planetary Society is going to be launching their solar sail space craft LightSail in a matter of hours. LightSail is designed to deploy 32 square meters of 4.2 micron thick sails once in space. The sails literally catch solar “wind”; charged particles emanating from the Sun that will push LightSail through space. (It’s kinda like the “Explorers” episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) Anyway, talk about green energy! (Or Yellow) What are the implications? Well according to the Planetary Society says
LightSail represents a major leap forward in the concept and technology of solar sailing. Through this program, we’re making it possible for other groups, including NASA, to utilize this innovative propulsion technique on CubeSats and other small spacecraft—opening the door to a huge variety of low-cost missions throughout the solar system.
As you might know, Bill Nye currently heads up the Planetary Society as CEO. We had the incredible opportunity to interview Bill during the production of Chasing Atlantis. You’ll get to see Bill talk more about space exploration once Chasing hits a film festival near you.
LightSail is currently running a Kickstarter Campaign that you can support for a chance at some amazing incentives ranging from LighSail merch, to cool gear like a Raspberry Pi rigged up to tell you when LightSail is travelling overhead, to lunch with Bill himself!
The main LightSail website can be found here where you can also watch the launch live at 10:45am EST today (May 20th). This launch will be a shakedown cruise to ensure LightSail survives orbital insertion and to test the sail deployment system. The test of the solar sails themselves will occur on the next launch scheduled for 2016.
Over the past few weeks, you’ve heard rumors of a special celebrity interview, and a few mentions of bow ties. Well, here is the official announcement:
WE ARE INTERVIEWING BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY!
Paul and I are headed to Los Angeles to meet up with Bill at the Planetary Society in on July 25th!
Conducting interviews for the film can be intimidating enough as it is. We are getting deep with people about how space, and science fiction have really affected their lives. But this is BILL NYE! Bill helped raise a whole generation of us on science through his passion for outreach and…well…we are understandably nervous and excited all at once.
So here’s where we’d like your help!
We want to ensure we get the most out of our time with Bill and also provide you with a chance to be involved. We are asking the space/sci-fi community “What Would You Want to Ask Bill Nye”. We will use some of the questions we get in our interview.
What kind of questions are we looking for?
Questions that fit the themes of the film. Of course we are looking for questions about space, why space is so cool, and why Bill has taken lead at the Planetary Society. But Chasing also explores people’s personal connection to space/exploration, the legacy they want to leave in their field of study, why they feel compelled to engage/educate, how their field affects society, why what they do is important, and what inspired them to do what they do. So get creative!
How do you send your question?
Tweet it to us @chasingatlantis, write as a reply to this blog post, or post it on our Facebook Page. If we use your question in the interview, we’ll let you know and post the video of Bill’s reply. We will consider questions sent to us all the way until the morning of July 25th when we’re en route to the Planetary Society
Thanks for helping us take advantage of this amazing opportunity! (BILL! BILL! BILL! BILL!)