Graphene sets sail in microgravity

ESA-backed researchers demonstrate the laser-propulsion of graphene sails in microgravity. The light sails use a scalable micro-membrane design that minimizes their mass and hence increases their thrust upon light irradiation. To demonstrate the new sail concept, the scientists gained access to ZARM Drop Tower. There, the sail prototypes were set in vacuum and microgravity, and 1W-lasers caused their acceleration up to 1 m/s2.