Turns out the key to making things lighter than air is…light!California scientists think they’ve found a way to make objects levitate using concentrated light — a theory that could even propel spacecraft farther than they’ve ever traveled before, according to a report.
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology believe that by covering the surfaces of objects with microscopic nanoscale patterns specially designed to interact with beams of light, they could be propelled without fuel — and potentially by light sources millions of miles away, according to Phys.org.
The findings, first detailed in the online science journal Nature Photonics, already have scientists salivating over the potentially out-of-this-world applications. One could be the development of a spacecraft that could reach the nearest planet outside our solar system in just 20 years. By contrast, it took the Voyager space probe some 26 years to leave our own solar system.