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Could a network of probes be sent ahead of a mother ship to form a grid to lay a path for travel inside the solar system?

After what certain speed anything larger then a stationary pebble could be bad if the mother ship runs into it traveling through space?

Could probes be equipped with radar and laser back course adjustments to the mother ship over enough distance allowing ample time to make slight course adjustments to steer clear of hazards?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Organic Marble, uhoh, Fred, Jan Doggen, Rory Alsop Dec 31 '18 at 14:34

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ This one is unanswerable with what we currently know. Any form of interstellar travel requires magic technology to reach the needed speeds and any form of fact based answer needs details about that the side effects of that magic. Any active sensor working down to pebble size at light minute distances will need a city sized power source of some sort that runs reliably for the duration of the trip, and technology will determine how viable that is compared to just accelerating shielding mass. $\endgroup$ – GremlinWranger Dec 30 '18 at 14:14
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    $\begingroup$ It's really bad form to fundamentally change your question after someone has taken the time to write an answer. I suggest you spend more time up front thinking and researching before you post a question to prevent iterating through it so much. Also consider whether these "could something" questions are a good fit for stack exchange. I believe they are opinon based by nature and I'm going to start voting accordingly. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Dec 31 '18 at 0:38
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexHajnal it was never interstellar I only changed interplanetary to solar system. $\endgroup$ – Muze Dec 31 '18 at 7:53
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    $\begingroup$ OK, sorry I misread "interplanetary" as "interstellar" $\endgroup$ – Alex Hajnal Dec 31 '18 at 7:55
  • $\begingroup$ This kind of thing is often brought up in the context of relativistic interstellar travel. I haven't heard of it being seen as an issue for travel within a single star system (at least at today's velocities). $\endgroup$ – Alex Hajnal Dec 31 '18 at 7:58
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Within the solar system you cannot really travel 'ahead' of a transfer orbit since it would have required you to have departed from a point in space ahead of the origin body (for example Earth) in it's solar orbit. It would be possible to fly approximate trajectories but they would be more costly in fuel.

Bigger problem is that they will only warn of objects moving in similar orbits*, which are the lowest threats as they have low relative velocities. The higher threat objects are traveling perpendicular to your orbit and keeping multiple outriders in a ring would require constant thrust as they would not be moving in a true orbits, with wider coverage requiring more fuel to maintain.

*a outrider ahead will potentially provide warning of a retrograde object but they are generally rarer than objects moving on eccentric but low inclination orbits.

If object detection is considered important a better solution is to place one or more mapping satellites in the volume of interest and let them locate all the objects over time. This involves far less capability from the mapping platform and means they are continually useful, including tracking hazards to earth or your destination.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, you are right - updated answer slightly $\endgroup$ – GremlinWranger Dec 31 '18 at 9:29
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Could a network of probes be sent ahead of a mother ship to form a grid to lay a path for interplanetary travel?

Yes.

Could probes be equipped with radar and laser back course adjustments to the mother ship over enough distance allowing ample time to make slight course adjustments to steer clear of hazards?

Yes, but radar might not work because it's too hard to make narrow search beams. Laser search beams might be a useful addition.. Everything has to be nuclear powered to make the search beams powerful enough.

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    $\begingroup$ I am sure a No/No answer can be written as well. You might consider making your question for focused on asking a specific technical question than just asking "Is SciFi idea X possible?" $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 30 '18 at 10:09

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