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RE: starship-design: Tugs


> ..think large laser sails are more trouble than they're worth, but
> the most efficient way to stabilize its structure would have to
> be an active mechanism.  Something like many patches which can be
> rotated up to 90 degrees with microactuators.  They'd be able to
> effectively adjust the transparency of the sail on a local basis.

That is one of the reasons that I found the mention of dielectric materials 
so interesting. You could "steer" without any moving parts by simply varying 
the current supplied to a particular area of the sail to make it more or 
less transparent.


                                                          (o o)
Let us create vessels and sails adjusted to the heavenly ether, and there
will be plenty of people unafraid of the empty wastes.

Johannes Kepler, in a letter to Galileo, 1610