Answer: it sounds nice, but it's false. The solar wind is the "breeze" of charged particles spewed out by the sun, while solar sails are pushed by the sunlight itself. Here are a few more interesting takeaways from Les Johnson's talk:
- Solar sails have been made possible by breakthroughs in materials science that allow the production of exceptionally strong, thin, and light materials. Materials science may not be the most glamorous subject in the world, but it has been powering an enormous number of recent technological breakthroughs.
- One possible application of solar sails is the positioning of satellites to "hover" over the poles, just like geostationary satellites appear to hover over a fixed spot on the earth above the equator.
- The Japanese already launched a successful solar sail several years ago. Somehow, this event totally escaped my notice.
The ultimate goal would be to use solar sails to power an interstellar vehicle. This forms a key idea in David Brin's novel Existence, which I highly recommend.