Does solar wind behave like terrestrial wind?


For example, if you had a spacecraft with a solar sail, could you “beat” a course starward? Or, are you forever doomed to sail outwards from the Sun?

In: 1

I think the issue here is less with differences between wind and solar wind, and more with the lack of water.

Tacking into the wind works because boats are designed to go forwards in the water and not sideways, so you can angle your sails and hull in such a way that this resistance to sideways motion drives you towards the wind.

You can’t do that in the vacuum of space.

Edit: of course falling into the star is the easy part, so there’s not much need to “sail” inwards when the star’s gravity is already omnipresent.

Orbits require angular velocity. If you can shave off the angular velocity and not add too much radial velocity, then yes. But don’t expect it to be a quick maneuver

The wind works similarly, but without water you can only ever get force with some component away from the sun. That’s fine, though, because you’re in orbit, so a force with some “away” component can slow you down and therefore allow gravity to drop you down.