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UK researchers have developed a device to drag space junk out of orbit. They plan to launch a demonstration of their "CubeSail" next year. It is a small satellite cube that deploys a thin, 25-sq-m plastic sheet.


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Japan has sent a sophisticated probe to Venus study its atmosphere in unprecedented detail.


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Japanese scientists are celebrating the successful deployment of their solar sail, Ikaros.


 Ikaros solar sail propulsion space travel interstellar
It is the picture that confirms Japan's Ikaros solar sail is fully extended and ready for the next part of its mission. ... The project team will be particularly concerned to keep the sail fully extended and flat. Rather than employ rigid booms or ribs to do this, Ikaros simply spins, making one or two revolutions per minute.


 sail solar light photon space travel Ikaros
Just as air causes lift on the wings of an aeroplane, light can do the same trick, researchers have said. The effect, first shown in simulations, was proven by showing it in action on tiny glass rods.


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