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Questions tagged [interstellar-travel]

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

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Speed to maneuver with flaps and ailerons in interstellar dust

I know the interstellar space is not empty. It has (among micrometeorites and gas clouds) interstellar dust. And the effect of the dust is more noticeable if the speed of the starship increases (we ...
2
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2answers
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Outgassing as a viable explanation of Oumuamua acceleration excess

A recent paper on Oumuamua claims the following: 'Oumuamua (1I/2017 U1) is the first object of interstellar origin observed in the Solar system. Recently, Micheli et al. (2018) reported that '...
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0answers
139 views

Interstellar “reefs”, plausibility and detection [closed]

Most of the interstellar medium is, as far as we can tell with current technology, pretty empty and most of what is there is in the form of single atoms or tiny particles only a few molecules across. ...
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1answer
252 views

Could electric fans lift a rocket strait up like a multi propeller drone? [closed]

Could electric fans like the ones below lift a rocket? What is the amount of electricity needed to lift a interplanetary rocket? Could a nuclear power plant provide enough electricity? https://en....
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0answers
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Did anyone suggest theories on the sounds voyager 1 captured from 2012-2013?

I was watching this on the JPL Youtube channel and it doesn't have much context other than 2 minutes of footage, and cuts to slides with some information, but not a lot of information. I'm wondering ...
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4answers
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Could a Falcon Heavy assembly or something similar be useful for deep space missions? [duplicate]

Please forgive me, I'm a stargazer not an astronomer, nor a rocket scientist. If one could get a complete, fully fueled Falcon Heavy assembly into space, say for example by sandwiching one between ...
0
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2answers
74 views

Time when traveling around the speed of light [closed]

I heard that if you travel at the speed of light or faster (say, to the Kelper systems ) and come back, thousands of years may have passed but you haven't experienced more than a few. How is this ...
0
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1answer
92 views

Could the interaction of the Sun’s solar wind and trapped plasma ions be used to propel a rocket through interplanetary space?

I have recently had a renewed interest in comets and how comet tails are formed. From studying this process, a thought occurred to me that perhaps plasma ions can be created within a long hollow ...
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2answers
290 views

Can you use magnets to travel through space?

My thought process is that there is very little friction in space minus gravitational pull. Which could be a good thing if you wanted to go faster or slow down. The question is, is it possible to ...
3
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2answers
298 views

Could space probe Voyager 1 or 2 reach Alpha Centauri?

Is it possible for Voyager 1 or 2 to reach any other star? If yes, which one is it and how much time does it take to do that? And in which direction are they now, and could we still communicate with ...
16
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3answers
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What limits the speed at which rocket fuel is expelled?

Rocket propulsion is based on Newton's laws. The faster propellant is expelled, the faster the rocket is accelerated. At what speed is propellant expelled in a normal rocket? What are the factors ...
6
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2answers
144 views

Feasibility of Interstellar Probe Communication

So, I understand that to transmit information across interstellar distances, you need to use a lot of power (or less bandwidth?), something for example a small space probe wouldn't exactly have. If we ...
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3answers
221 views

What is currently used to protect spaceships from meteoroids?

What is used to protect a Mars or possibly interstellar spacecraft against meteoroids and asteroids? How risky it it to travel through space and does higher speeds equal more risk? Would a long ...
5
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1answer
435 views

Maximum velocity achieved by solar sail

What is the maximum (theoretical) velocity that can be achieved by solar-sail technology? Can we get close to the speed of light with that?
4
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1answer
157 views

Are there any mechanisms that would allow automated landing on a planet after 65,000 years?

I'm pretty certain this is a "no", but I'm a biologist, not a space scientist, and I'm attempting to answer this question over on Biology.SE - basically, if we launched a (very slow) craft/object ...
3
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1answer
222 views

Research paper on 'Wait calculation' for interstellar travel

Has anybody read, or does anyone know of, a particular paper on the amount of time humanity has to "wait" before venturing in actual interstellar travel? It discusses the optimal time to launch our ...
7
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1answer
411 views

How long would it take to travel to Proxima b?

Proxima b is an Earth-like (i.e. rocky) planet, in orbit around the star Proxima Centauri, approximately 4.243 light years from Sol, our home star. If I had a space vehicle capable of accelerating ...
1
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1answer
72 views

Can we get different images of the Milky Way? Or solar system?

The orbits of the planets are coplanar. We send probes out along this plane to explore planets. Why can't we send a probe perpendicular to this plane (say due north from the earths perspective) and ...
1
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0answers
117 views

What is the best propulsion for an interstellar ship? [closed]

What is the best propulsion for an interstellar ship? with the current technology If we sent a spacecraft in this decade or the next, what would be the best propulsion for that ship? I speak of a ship ...
6
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2answers
193 views

Using asteroids as propellent source

if we could capture an asteroid or meteor, can we use it as a vehicle for space travel? From what I understand, propulsion is a result of mass flow, so we could use a rail gun configuration to propel ...
0
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2answers
615 views

Is antimatter feasable?

I've seen the company Positron Dynamics claim they have a potential solution to interstellar travel through their proposed antimatter propulsion system. More often then not these advanced propulsion ...
3
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1answer
95 views

Current biggest challenge [closed]

What is regarded as the current single biggest challenge/hurdle limiting space exploration? Once that tipping point has past it would pave the way for future exploration to dramatically increase.
0
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1answer
126 views

Use of compressed gases for space travel

To travel once in space, not only using gravity as a method of propelling, could pressurised gases work? The ubiquity of gases such as helium or hydrogen being brought into the craft, once compressed ...
4
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2answers
189 views

Shortest time to place a probe further than Voyager 1?

Based on today's technology (requiring no new engineering hurdles to be solved), could a new interstellar space probe overtake Voyager 1's distance? It doesn't need to go in the same direction, but ...
6
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1answer
479 views

Can we speed up spacecraft to suitable interstellar travel speed using oscillating gravity assists on planets on opposite sides of the solar system?

I recently calculated using $E = 0.5mv^2$ that one kilogram of mass traveling at one tenth of the speed of light would have a kinetic energy of 449.4 trillion joules. Relativistic effects are ...
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0answers
41 views

Can the sun/Venus be used to slingshot back out into the outer solar system fast? [duplicate]

I'm not a physicist or rocket man, but I laid awake thinking about this all night and I just wanted expert corrections to help with my basic understanding. So... 483,000 miles per hour is how fast our ...
1
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1answer
240 views

What objects travel at the speed of light? [closed]

What elements travel at the speed of light. I was under the impression it was light and gravity but apparently electromagnetic waves (radio waves) travel that fast as well. And is element the right ...
4
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1answer
228 views

Project Starshot acceleration

A recent question about Project Starshot's communication asks about one of the seemingly insurmountable problems with this project. There is however another problem that has bugged me ever since I ...
4
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2answers
292 views

Which spacecraft will be the first for which the Sun would become the second brightest object in the sky?

Which spacecraft will be the first for which the Sun would become the second brightest object in the sky? When that will happen and how far? What would be the most efficient direction to fly in ...
2
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1answer
115 views

Does SETI perform search of extremely low bandwidth signals?

Sending a signal at interstellar distance requires enormous power - something of order not too far from energies of the stars. Even if we harness the power of stars, modulating that signal would take ...
2
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2answers
217 views

Solar sail and debris shielding

If a space craft is to travel at 0.6 c, how must one design a protection system such that any and all debris collisions with the sail do not render it damaged for further use? Is it possible to employ ...
5
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5answers
350 views

How might Earth's location be referenced in stellar terms?

Apologies if this has been asked before using terminology for somebody more familiar with the subject matter. I've searched but cannot find an answer. Assuming space travel was possible (to other ...
9
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1answer
2k views

How much light is there on the way from Earth to Proxima Centauri?

I want to know how much light is there for a spacecraft that flies from earth to Proxima Centauri. I know there's the sun but what happens after the spacecraft leaves the solar system? Are there stars ...
3
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1answer
180 views

Navigating to Proxima-B

What sorts of unique problems are there with planning a trajectory to Proxima Centauri, besides it being out of the plane of the ecliptic? (I'm guessing if you've got the juice to make it there, ...
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3answers
475 views

How are the tiny spacecraft proposed by Project Starshot supposed to communicate with Earth?

Between power limitations and aperture-limited diffraction I just can't see how it's possible.
3
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1answer
125 views

How to go about calculating the size and energy requirements for a space-based linear accelerator or railgun to accelerate small probes?

Apologies for the long question. With all the speculation surrounding the newly-discovered Earth-sized planets a "mere" 40 ly distant, I'm revisiting earlier musings on ways to send interstellar ...
3
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1answer
192 views

How close to Jupiter does a spacecraft need to get in order to gain maximum gravity assist and Oberth effect bonus for leaving the Solar System?

Given that a spacecraft's purpose is to leave the Solar System as fast as possible, how deep into Jupiter's gravity well would be optimal for an assist in the planet's orbital direction? Jupiter's max ...
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3answers
1k views

Would an interstellar exoplanet telescope make sense?

Since the transit method of detecting exoplanets requires perfect alignment of orbits, would a Kepler-type telescope yield more exoplanet detections if sent out of our solar system even to relatively ...
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2answers
363 views

Best time to Alpha Centauri with Solar Slingshot?

I saw these two links, and they gave me a question: http://www.space.com/35577-looking-at-alpha-centauri-stars-next-door.html http://io9.gizmodo.com/5786083/what-are-the-fastest-spacecrafts-ever-...
3
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0answers
362 views

Breakthrough Starshot's 100 Gigawatt laser array - what's the current thinking how this might work?

In the article Breakthrough Starshot tricks out massive telescope for planet hunting there is casual mention of a "phased array of lasers in the 100GW range" that will propel a gram scale spacecraft ...
3
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2answers
946 views

Why are meteors, asteroids and comets not used as propulsion for spacecrafts? [duplicate]

I know it would take a lengthy amount of time to reach the asteroids and meteors. After hearing of the Europeans landing a probe on a comet, the first thing I could think of was: "Could this be used ...
3
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1answer
139 views

travelling the galaxy within its spiral arms, or 'jump' from one to the other?

If a spaceship were traversing a galaxy, which trajectory would require less energy: cut straight through from one spiral arm to the next, or keep curving within the spiral arms themselves. I guess ...
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1answer
345 views

I've designed a machine that can propel a craft through space accelerating 8000mph every 24 hours. Who do I talk to about it? [closed]

I have three ideas but one of them a lot more efficient than the other two. I also have a few questions that need to be tested in space or dismissed by a astrophysicist, My main question: If a ...
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2answers
415 views

Booster rocket free way of achieving orbit?

https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/104593/can-you-get-an-orbital-mass-driver-to-work-this-way-to-propel-in-space-without Using balloons to carry a blimp or suspend an electric rail ...
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2answers
831 views

Do we travel horizontally in same plane or vertically while exploring space? [closed]

While looking from Earth's surface it gives the impression that all planets, stars, sun etc are above our heads. When a rocket travels from earth to outer space, it takes a trajectory and gives the ...
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9answers
785 views

Why would interstellar space travelers need to decelerate their whole ship?

In many sci-fi novels I have read, interstellar travelers had their ship accelerate half the way, then decelerate half the way. I wonder why this is the chosen approach. Would not it be better to ...
2
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3answers
933 views

How close humans are for interstellar travel? [duplicate]

I have heard many times about interstellar travels. Are centrifuge space craft (artificial gravity) and warp drives technologies being built or still it is just concepts ? Nearest start system is ...
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1answer
203 views

Could an interstellar spaceship be made up of several ships launched from Earth, or would it have to be built in space? [closed]

I just watched the movie 'Interstellar' for the first time. Assume we have reached the point (in real life) where we are able to launch interstellar spaceships meant to colonize other planets. To do ...
0
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1answer
108 views

When launching a ship meant to colonize a planet beyond our solar system, what would be the best location for the launch? [closed]

If we were going to launch a ship meant to take a one way trip and colonize another planet outside of our solar system, what location on earth would serve as the best launch point? Could we use one ...
9
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1answer
358 views

How much power would an Alpha Centauri probe require for communication?

Project Longshot report (1988) says: A laser with an input power of 250 kilowatts would allow for a data rate of 1000 bits per second at maximum range." Yet Breakthrough Starshot website (2016) ...