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Japan’s solar-powered spacecraft IKAROS photographed in space

Japan’s solar-powered spacecraft IKAROS has been successfully photographed with its open silver space sail, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said Wednesday. The 14-meter-square sail has ultrathin solar cells on film measuring 0.0075 millimeter thick. The cells trap sunlight to generate electricity to power its space flight while at the same time the craft uses photon propulsion. On one side of the film is vapor-deposited aluminum that reflects sunlight, which thus propels the craft.