A prototype of a "flying carpet" has been created, which is kept in the air only by the energy of light

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania (USA) managed to make two thinnest mylar plates float in a vacuum without using any propellers or mechanisms. The objects were kept in space due to the concentration of light fluxes from LEDs on them. This is a real breakthrough, the levitation of objects so large by the standards of science was possible for the first time.

The plates themselves do not have any modules or devices, their secret is that they are extremely light for their dimensions. Therefore, if the resistance of the medium is minimal, as in an airless space, then a very small effort is sufficient to counteract the force of attraction. Like the pressure of a photon beam from a bright light source, which was demonstrated during the experiment.

It is difficult to judge the prospects for scaling the technology and its commercial application, but for science it is extremely interesting. First, scientists want to build on its basis probes to study the mesosphere, the uppermost part of the atmosphere, where almost a cosmic vacuum reigns. Rockets and balloons are useless there, but the ultralight plate, illuminated by a powerful searchlight, looks promising. Secondly, the same can be repeated in the very rarefied atmosphere of Mars, in which research flights are still only a dream.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have managed to cause tiny plastic trays to hover using only light. Next up: Back To The Future-style hoverboards pic.twitter.com/tPGdVLwA88

- Tony Ho Tran (@TonyHoWasHere) February 14, 2021