One company that holds a lot of promise for investors with an eye on opportunities in space exploration is Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (OTCMKTS:ASTI). While the firm is not in the space exploration business per se in the mold of SpaceX or Virgin Galactic, it is on course to becoming one of the biggest suppliers of a revolutionary technology that is likely to be widely used in spacecrafts in future – the solar sail.

Could companies like Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) benefit from the the technolgy that ASTI posesses ?

The sun’s photons as a propulsion force

With the solar sail, the propulsion force of spacecraft is the sun, as the name suggests. Other names that have been given to the solar sail propulsion technology include ‘light sail’ and ‘photon sail’. The technology works by using the photons that the sun is constantly emitting. These photons do not possess any mass, but this is compensated for by the fact that they have some momentum. When these photons hit the solar sail, they are reflected back and in the process, they push the solar sail in the reverse direction. This momentum builds over time and scientists estimate that speeds of 150,000 mph could be reached in three years making it possible to reach Pluto in under five years.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

The pioneer solar sail in space was launched by the generously funded Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency which has now selected ASTI to take part in a new round of evaluations that will involve sending a mission to Jupiter.

“We are very honored to be selected to work with JAXA in anticipation of the upcoming mission,” the President and chief executive officer of Ascent Solar, Victor Lee, said after the selection.

What has made ASTI stand out so far is the firm’s own technology for making the solar sails that have been thoroughly tested. So far the technology has demonstrated a lot of promise and has been able to withstand extreme environments – the kind that is likely to be found in outer space.

But ASTI is not just a space exploration firm as it also produces energy collection devices as well as energy storage devices. With its growing list of patents and growing recognition, the company is slated to become one of the fastest growing enterprises in North America.

In Tuesday’s trading Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc rose by 3.57% to close the day at $0.00290 a piece. Looks like ASTI is all set to make a major bounce back.