2004 年 52 巻 603 号 p. 148-152
A magneto-plasma sail produces the propulsive force due to the interaction between the artificial magnetic field around a spacecraft inflated by the plasma and the solar wind erupted from the Sun. The inflation of the magnetic field by the plasma was proposed by a group of the University of Washington and the basic research has just started. This paper summarizes the characteristics of the magneto plasma sail by comparing with the other low-thrust propulsion systems, and investigates its potential application to near future planetary missions. Finally, an engineering satellite to demonstrate the magneto-plasma sail is proposed as a first step.