View Full Version : Discussion: Laser Powered Plane Takes Flight

2003-Oct-10, 08:21 PM
SUMMARY: A team of NASA researchers have created a remote control plane that gets its power from a ground-based laser that tracks it as it flies around. The model plane has a 3.5 metre wingspan, and only weighs 300 grams. It collects energy from a bank of photovoltaic cells to power its propeller. Although this is just a prototype, future versions could be much larger and fly above a city indefinitely providing telecommunications services - it could be an inexpensive replacement for satellites.

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2003-Oct-11, 07:19 AM
How efficient would one of these planes be? Would it be dangerous if something (like a how air balloon flew through the laser beam, cutting of the planes source of power?

2003-Oct-11, 03:57 PM
Is this the same principle as the solar sail?

2003-Oct-11, 08:29 PM
No, it's a propeller plane. The solar panels power the prop with electricity. So, it's more like a solar-powered plane that doesn't need the Sun.