Japan's Space-Surfing Solar Sail Photographed For First Time

Good news for the Little Japanese Solar Sail That Could, as the first images of the solar sail spread out in full deployment have been snapped. All is going according to plan, says the space agency, and "flying" looks possible.

Just last week the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency unfurled the solar sail in space, but it now needs to make tracks through space to prove that solar-powered travel is indeed possible. It works by reflecting solar radiation back at the sun, propelling (theoretically) the sail through space. IKAROS has been given five months to prove its worth in space, as it heads towards the planet Venus (for a bit of luuuurve, naturally). [JAXA via DiscoveryNews]