WHAT A SPACE KIN­DLE COULD DO

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Orbit -

Imag­ine a Cube­sat with an e-ink panel that can tog­gle its pixels be­tween black and white. White pixels, which re­flect light, get a small amount of mo­men­tum when hit by sun­light. Black pixels, which ab­sorb light, get some mo­men­tum, but less. There­fore, a panel split ver­ti­cally be­tween white and black gets greater force push­ing its top (F1) than its bot­tom (F2), ro­tat­ing it about its cen­ter of grav­ity (COG) and re­ori­ent­ing it in or­bit – with­out us­ing thrusters or fuel. Once it is re­ori­ented (and far­ther from the sun) the panel could be turned black to ab­sorb more heat and keep its in­stru­ments in their op­er­a­ble tem­per­a­ture range.

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