Questions tagged [interstellar-travel]

Questions regarding travel on a cosmic scale, from one star to another.

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Interstellar travel by lightsail – what are the main factors of the trajectory uncertainties?

Lightsail (solar sail or sail accelerated by lasers) is a theorized as realistic way for interstellar travel. Breakthrough Starshot is the most prominent example. Let’s assume we have a thin enough ...
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11 votes
5 answers
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What processes create an object with an interstellar velocity?

An object like Oumuamua originates in a solar system. This object has roughly the inertia of everything else there. I can imagine stuff on the edge of the accretion zone for a star that...WANDER off......
5 votes
1 answer
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Why do "Relativistic Light Sails Need to Billow"?

The University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science blogpost How to Design a Sail that Won’t Tear or Melt on an Interstellar Voyage links to two new Nano Letters papers: Matthew ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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To what percentage of the speed of light you need to accelerate to get artificial gravity at 1g?

Let's say you have a very powerful hypothetical fusion or matter/antimatter drive on a spaceship and you want to travel to a star nearby. Can you get 1g artificial gravity by accelerating? Or close to ...
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Could astronauts jump from a spaceship onto a spacestation and how would it be like if yes?

I saw it happen in the videogame Alien:Isolation but not sure how realistic it was. I need help understanding some orbital mechanics for a sci-fi story that I am trying to write. The scenario I ...
2 votes
1 answer
138 views

Travelling close to speed of light

I have theoretical questions about inter-stellar travel at very high speeds (e.g. 0.9c). The inter-stellar medium is not a perfect vacuum, there are about 1 atom per cm3. This causes some friction. I ...
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1 answer
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How is delta-v calculated for an interstellar journey?

Just recently I have been learning about orbital mechanics and I came across the following article: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/life-unbounded/why-chemical-rockets-and-interstellar-travel-...
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3 answers
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Can Voyager 1 reach the Andromeda Galaxy?

Right now, as of 2021, Voyager 1 has left the Solar System. If it has reached such a great distance, is it possible for it to reach the Andromeda Galaxy? Also, will we be able to still be in contact ...
6 votes
3 answers
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Could you survive very high G's if your whole body was accelerated uniformly?

Could you survive high g's if your whole body was accelerated uniformly (not just by the seat of a rocket pushing on your back)? Your body is really only affected by gravity if you are touching ...
0 votes
1 answer
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Standing still to move forward [closed]

If our galaxy is tracking through space at ~1.3mm, couldn’t we arrive at point B if we came to a stop at point A. i.e. decelerate to -1 g
2 votes
0 answers
110 views

What interstellar data rates are feasible? [closed]

Preamble: Mankind has colonized the galaxy with self replicating machines which build transceivers when they arrive at a new star system which transmit and receive uploaded human minds and AI between ...
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1 answer
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Interstellar Travel Thought Experiment

I have been going over a bit of a thought experiment in my head lately. And wondering if someone more informed on the matter can share their thoughts Let's start with the premise that rocket/ ...
3 votes
4 answers
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Of all propulsion devices that could reach near-C speeds, which one is closest/most practical?

With even the most efficient chemical fuel we have to reach Alpha Centauri(closest star system to our own) in a human lifetime, you would need a fuel tank millions of lightyears across. So we need to ...
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1 answer
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Which star could Starship reach soonest?

We've been mocking Starship because it's not going to fly to another star, but according to this solar system delta v map it only takes 5.63 km/s from a Moon transfer orbit to Sun escape velocity. A ...
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18 votes
2 answers
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How serious is the problem of interstellar dust for interstellar space travel?

Proxima Centauri b seems to be the closest exoplanet in its habitable zone. At a distance of $4.2$ lightyears, travel to this planet within a human lifetime is not impossible prima facie, however ...
11 votes
1 answer
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If a spacecraft travels at 10% c will it be destroyed by interstellar dust and particles?

If a spacecraft travels at 10% the speed of light will it be destroyed by collisions with interstellar dust and particles? The spacecraft will be traveling to nearby stars, not going through a nebula.
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1 answer
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Estimating thrust and kg fuel for a generation ship's journey to Alpha Centauri

Premise: A generation spaceship leaves Earth around the year 2060 on a journey to colonize Alpha Centauri A (ACA). In this fiction, fusion power is achieved in 2040, improved over 20 years, and used ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Time to reach interstellar space

From my understanding, both voyager 1 and voyager 2 used a gravity assisted slingshot method to leave the solar system. Question(s): Since the planetary alignment used won't happen again for a while, ...
-5 votes
1 answer
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How exactly are we ranging distances of objects in space? Are we doing it for real or is it just a hoax? [closed]

I have been wondering, maybe some one could enlighten me as to the answer I have been looking for. I have googled, but I am after a more direct answer to this question. If light takes X time to travel ...
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2 votes
1 answer
272 views

When does a specific equipment at a certain temperature start to freeze in interstellar space?

This is my first post here. I'm working on a project which involves a number of problems and some parts of that are related to empty space and space exploration. I try to be focused and reflect one of ...
4 votes
0 answers
382 views

How do you "make" a soliton? (recent peer-reviewed theoretical work in FTL travel)

I've just read an Article on the new approach on Warp Drives Dr. Erik Lentz describes. Instead of creating a bubble with negative energy density, he describes a Soliton in spacetime, which he ...
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1 answer
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Where is Voyager 1 now (2021)?

I remember seeing that Voyager 1 is currently in interstellar space and will continue to move indefinitely. I however could not find the reference of where (in the vicinity) Voyager 1 is now. Is it ...
4 votes
3 answers
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How to move in space with just solar panels or without them?

What are the technologies known to humankind, to do propulsion in space, with a spacecraft having solar panels, when: It is under ample solar flux? It is interstellar under negligible solar flux? ...
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2 answers
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What timezone would be used for interstellar travel?

The ISS crew celebrated Thanksgiving today. Apparently the ISS uses Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is equivalent to Greenwich Mean Time. What timezone would people use for interstellar travel?...
4 votes
0 answers
51 views

What is the required laser intensity to ionize interstellar gas in front of a Bussard ramjet?

In a Bussard ramjet interstellar gas is collected using a large magnetic field to be fused and used as reaction mass. While a number of papers have explored the constraints on the magnetic field, what ...
4 votes
1 answer
593 views

How efficient and fast would seven Caplan thrusters be at pushing the Sun and would it be worth building more than one?

I was thinking about stellar engines. One type of stellar engine is the Caplan thruster, which concentrates the star's light onto the star's surface to create beams of solar wind, which are collected ...
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

How can I view the Voyager golden record images?

As a human, I'm mildly interested in seeing for myself what message we have sent to some hypothetical aliens. This NASA page displays 48 of them: https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/galleries/images-on-the-...
4 votes
1 answer
255 views

Why isn't "cylindrical alien derelict spacecraft" more common in theories of Oumuamua as an alien probe?

When the mysterious extrasolar object, named Oumuamua, was detected and characterized, the leading analysis of its signal strongly suggested that it was a long, cylindrical or cigar-shaped object. And ...
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1 answer
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How much time would it take to go to Alpha Centauri through a wormhole? [closed]

After reading a question about going to Alpha Centauri through an Alcubierre Warp I just became curious about going through a wormhole. I think it would happen instantly as far as I know about ...
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Are there any modern studies for how to colonize an exoplant involving interstellar travel?

As in the title, are there any modern studies for how to colonize an exoplanet involving manned interstellar travel? By this I mean an academic peer reviewed study. However, it doesn't have to be ...
0 votes
3 answers
207 views

Prior to putting spacecraft on a trajectory going a significant fraction of the speed of light, would some things need to be tested on Earth?

Except for particle accelerators, I don't think we have made any macro object go anywhere near the speeds planned for spacecraft like the one planned in Project Orion. But would there be something ...
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Detecting light leakage from starshot-like probe

Would we be able to detect the light "leaking" around a light sail, from a startshot like probe, which is launched from a nearby star system towards Earth?
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1 answer
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What does it take to send a probe into a primordial black hole near the Oort cloud?

Since Sept 2019 there's been some speculation1 whether the hypothetical planet far beyond the Kuiper belt is actually a primordial black hole. It would be the closest black hole to the Earth (500 au ...
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4 votes
2 answers
369 views

At what speed does it seem like you are going lightspeed due to time dilation?

Due to relativity, if you are onboard a ship going at 99.999% the speed of light, it seems to you that you travel multiple light years per year, even though from an outside perspective you take just ...
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6 votes
2 answers
137 views

Were there any noticeable immune system changes observed for people staying for long in space?

I have read this article about how difficult is to send ships to another possible habitable world. One aspect deals with the human bacterial companions which might be greatly affected by prolonged ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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What would the Voyager probes look like today?

In the 40+ years since their launching, after traveling through the solar system and now beyond, what would the Voyager probes look like today if we could see them up close? Would they look noticeably ...
4 votes
0 answers
125 views

Help: Specific Quote for Interstellar Spaceship

I know that this quote exists, i just don't know who said it or the specific language. The quote goes something like this: If we ever decided to send a manned spaceship (generational ship) to ...
3 votes
2 answers
580 views

About non-FTL travel and realitivistic effect for a hard sci fi novel

I’m planning a hard science fiction novel, thus there is no Faster-Than-Light travel, but I do present the existence of a means of transportation that is close to the speed of light. For example, it ...
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1 answer
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Does a warped galaxy have any realistic implications for modern space travel?

A recent BBC news article with the title "Milky Way galaxy is warped and twisted, not flat" caught my attention. It goes on to say: Our results show that the Milky Way Galaxy is not flat. It is ...
0 votes
1 answer
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Can a planet closer to the edge of the observable Universe see what's on the other side? [closed]

I get that the reason we can't see outside the observable Universe because the light will never reach us. But does the light reach a planet closer to the edge of it?
28 votes
3 answers
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Time at 1 g acceleration to travel 100 000 light years

How long would it take to go 100,000 light years at a constant 1 g acceleration?
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If humans move to different solar systems will they eventually evolve into different species? [closed]

I once read an argument against space settlement in a newspaper that said that if humans move to different systems eventually they will evolve into different species, or their cultures and beliefs ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Tacking a solar sail to increase duration of acceleration

Because the utility of a solar sail diminishes the further it travels away from the sun (max. distance ~50 AU), the longer it can stay in closer proximity to the sun the longer it can accelerate. Is ...
2 votes
1 answer
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During interstellar travel, does time dilation make the trip shorter?

If it is 4.2 light years to the Alpha Centauri system, does the trip there take less time the closer you get to the speed of light? When considering time dilation, if we traveled at the speed of ...
3 votes
2 answers
329 views

Speculation on the concept of in-space magnetic ring/rail launcher for a spaceship?

This is in reference to the question If human space travel is limited by the G force vulnerability, is there a way to counter G forces? Which, by my limited understanding, seems to point at the ...
5 votes
1 answer
217 views

What are the chances a space probe will make it to another star without hitting a bit of space dust?

tl;dr: What is the density of "space dust" or micrometeorites in interstellar space, and how likely is it that a tiny interstellar craft could avoid hitting any? In a future time we will likely ...
15 votes
3 answers
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What is the most fuel efficient way out of the Solar System?

I understand with current technology we can't just fly a straight line out of the solar system but which way out would need the least fuel? Currently to navigate the solar system it is a dance ...
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1 vote
3 answers
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Delta-V to accelerate to/decelerate from .5c

I have a reasonably good understanding of delta-V (from playing KSP). However, I don't have a great understanding of how it works once you start running into the limitations of physics. I know that ...
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Travel Speed in Space

I have read several questions and answers here concerning achieving speeds beyond the typical deep-space exploration missions. While speed increases near the Sun for example, that can't be applied to ...
6 votes
3 answers
246 views

concentrating starlight with mirrors for photovoltaics in deep space

would it be feasible to use mirrors to concentrate starlight in order to produce efficient solar panels in interstellar space? could we produce enough electricity to provide ongoing propulsion?