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Travelling to Alpha Centauri August 27, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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As seen on the Charles Stross blog, there’s some scepticism as regards the likelihood of interstellar travel anytime soon by probe. That said here’s a bunch of optimists – the Breakthrough Starshot project…

…a proof-of-concept fleet of light sail spacecraft, named StarChip,[1] capable of making the journey to the Alpha Centauri star system, 4.37 light-years away, at speeds between 20%[2][3][4] and 15% of the speed of light,[5] taking between 20 and 30 years to get there, respectively, and about 4 years to notify Earth of a successful arrival. The journey may include a flyby of Proxima Centauri b, an Earth-sized exoplanet that is in the habitable zone of its host star in the Alpha Centauri system.[6] The conceptual principles to enable this interstellar travel project were described in “A Roadmap to Interstellar Flight”, by Philip Lubin of UC Santa Barbara.[7][8]

And the idea is that there would be a ‘swarm’ of these… devices… sent out.

The fleet would have about 1000 spacecraft, and each one (dubbed a StarChip), would be a very small centimeter-sized vehicle weighing a few grams.[1] They would be propelled by several ground-based lasers of up to 100 gigawatts.[13] Each spacecraft would transmit data back to Earth using a compact on-board laser communications system using its lightsail as an antenna.[13] A swarm of about 1000 units would compensate for the losses caused by interstellar dust collisions en route to the target.[13][14]

There’s a heap of technical problems (wiki calls them challenges) to be overcome. And yet it seems to me that this is a good direction to be moving in if only because it is rooted in present day technologies.

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