Professor Greg Matloff, City University of New York, and C Bangs, artist and former NASA faculty Fellow, will give a lecture on the merger of science and art in the field of holographic photon sails and show the propulsive possibilities of holography in space.
When and Where? Saturday 29th September 2018 at 1pm in the Conference Room, Bone Mill, New Street, Charfield, South Gloucestershire, GL12 8ES
Holograms apply the interference of two collimated light beams to produce three-dimensional images on a two dimensional surface of selected objects. A hologram of an optical element, for instance a lens, will behave optically in the same manner as that lens. The late Dr. Robert Forward realized before 2000 that holographic surfaces could be used for application in solar sailing in space. It is very difficult to use a conventional sail to escape Low Earth Orbit (LEO). But, since the orientation of the light source is significant in a hologram’s reflective efficiency, a sail with a holographic coating could be designed so that sunlight behind it is reflected and sunlight in front of it is transmitted, which will result in an increase in the sail’s orbital energy and ultimate escape. Forward arranged in the summer of 2000 for NASA Marshall physicist/manager, Les Johnson to fund Bangs on Matloff’s University Grant to produce a prototype holographic interstellar message plaque to demonstrate to the NASA staff the propulsion possibilities of holography. The resulting commissioned art work has been described in a NASA report and elsewhere.
In 2016, Matloff was appointed to the Advisor’s Board of Project Starshot. The goal of this effort is to propel a wafer-sized spacecraft (s/c) massing a few grams to ~0.2c using a ~50-100 GW laser mounted on a terrestrial mountain top. The laser is pointed at Alpha/Proxima Centauri and the s/c is deployed at the apogee of a very elliptical Earth orbit. Very high sail reflectivity is necessary as is tolerance to accelerations of about 5,000g. Also, the sail must have an appropriate shape to remain within the moving beam during the minutes-long acceleration run. One way to satisfy these requirements is to create a hologram of an optical element that is highly reflective to the laser wavelength and to emboss this hologram on an appropriate temperature tolerant thin film. The optical element should be shaped to be stable within the beam. Bangs and Martina Mrongovius, Creative Director of the Holocenter have submitted a proposal in response to an RFP from the Starshot Sail Committee. Mason Peck of Cornell University, who is on the Starshot Advisors Board, has been funded to deploy wafer-sized spacecraft dubbed Sprites from CubeSats in LEO. Bangs and Mrongovius are creating six holograms to be flown in space on a Cornell CubeSat, to be launched within the next year. It is planned that each Project Starshot wafer-sized spacecraft will have a message plaque mounted on the space-facing sail face. Holographic message plaques on these craft could be very low in mass and contain vast amounts of information describing terrestrial life to hypothetical extraterrestrials.
Dr. Greg Matloff, Science Board i4is, FBIS, Member IAA, Hayden Associate AMNH, Prof.Physics NYCCT / CUNY, Proj. Starshot Advisor
C Bangs, Artist, Represented by CENTRAL BOOKING Art Space NYC, Former NASA Faculty Fellow