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NASA solar sail could take science to new height

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As NASA's exploration continues to push boundaries, a new solar sail concept selected by the agency for development toward a demonstration mission could carry science to new destinations.

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The Diffractive Solar Sailing project was selected for Phase III study under the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program.

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Phase III aims to strategically transition NIAC concepts with the highest potential impact for NASA, other government agencies, or commercial partners.

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"As we venture farther out into the cosmos than ever before, we'll need innovative, cutting-edge technologies to drive our missions," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

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"The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program helps to unlock visionary ideas - like novel solar sails - and bring them closer to reality."

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Like a sailboat using wind to cross the ocean, solar sails use the pressure exerted by sunlight to propel a craft through space.

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