Teaching overview

Learning points

  • When light is reflected by a surface, it exerts a very small push force.
  • There is no air resistance in space, so the force of sunlight striking a sail is enough to propel a spacecraft.
  • Sunlight is constantly reflected by the sail, which causes the spacecraft to keep getting faster.

Curriculum keywords

  • Space
  • Light
  • Forces

Spark a discussion

  • Why don't solar sails use wind?
  • How do solar sails use sunlight to move?
  • What could we use solar sails for?

Explore our resources

Complete your lesson with teaching resources on the Solar System from Tigtag.

Go to Tigtag

Discover free online CPD for primary science from Reach Out CPD.

Go to Reach Out CPD