NASA set to launch Sunjammer, the largest solar sail in history, with hopes to revolutionize near space travel
It might not get you all the way to Cardassia Prime, but NASA hopes its newly launched solar-sail Sunjammer program will lead to a future where propellantless space craft are used for a multitude of functions beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.

“Once proven, solar sail technology could enable a host of versatile space missions, including flying an advanced space-weather warning system to more quickly and accurately alert satellite operators and utilities on Earth of geomagnetic storms caused by coronal mass ejections from the sun,” NASA said in a release.

Additionally, NASA sees the project as something that can work to help clean up the piles of floating space garbage in orbit. (NASA)

Famed science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke is finally headed for space — five years after his death.

Though the author of “2001: A Space Odyssey” died in 2008 in Sri Lanka, scientists from NASA today announced plans to send his DNA into orbit around the sun in 2014 aboard the Sunjammer, an astonishing solar-powered spacecraft.

Called the Sunjammer Cosmic Archive (SCA), the flying time capsule is a first in the history of space travel, carrying digital files of human DNA including Clarke’s aboard the sun-powered space ship.

The DNA is to be contained in a “BioFile.” Other so-called MindFiles, including images, music, voice recordings, and the like, provided by people all around the globe, will also be included in the cosmic archive for future generations — or perhaps other civilizations — to see. (via Sir Arthur C. Clarke finally going to outer space on Sunjammer solar sail spacecraft » Space News)