Questions tagged [interstellar-travel]

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

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3
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2answers
19 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 ...
3
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2answers
678 views

Could unexpectedly high levels of interstellar space debris be the Great Filter?

I've heard (though I can't find the source) that sufficiently large interstellar space debris has the potential to destroy spacecraft, and that there is considerable uncertainty about how much of a ...
31
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4answers
3k views

Is warp drive a legitimate avenue of scientific investigation?

I've been reading a number of online "pop-sci" articles on the subject of "warp drive" - derived from work done initially by Alcubierre. Some of the most recent articles say that there are ...
6
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1answer
180 views

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 ...
6
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1answer
240 views

Does prolonged space flight have any effect on the physical traits of the human body?

Can a variable of physical traits like height, weight, complexion be changed in outer space? Maybe by gravity or by something else that determines these traits (like the UV rays of the sun that ...
17
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4answers
615 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.
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4answers
419 views

How will Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking's nanobots decelerate and transmit data upon arrival at Alpha Centauri?

Does anyone know what exactly is their plan, once they get there? How is that nano-thing going to slow down / take images / send data back to us? I couldn't find any information on this.
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3answers
7k views

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?
4
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2answers
2k views

Can we not get outside the Local Galactic group?

Can we not escape the expansion of space to get outside the local group? I was doing some math, and the closest Group to us besides the Local Group is the M81 Group which is 11.4 Million light years ...
13
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3answers
4k views

Could black holes be used for swing-by?

Due to gravity and movement an object can be accelerated (positive/negative) and slingshot into another direction. This has been used various times, but as far as I know with orbital objects like a ...
4
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0answers
100 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
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2answers
440 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 ...
2
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2answers
112 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 ...
4
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2answers
1k 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?
27
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4answers
11k views

Is there any way to find and track Pioneer 10, 11, and Voyager 1, 2?

The space probes Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, and Voyager 2 are the first man-made devices to have escaped from our solar system. The main problem they face is the lack of power source in them. ...
1
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1answer
87 views

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
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1answer
79 views

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?
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2answers
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Could Von Neumann probes be forbidden by technological limitations?

The famous Fermi paradox asks an important question: if space-faring civilizations exist and are not extremely rare, why are they not already here? Von Neumann proposed a probe, that flies to nearest ...
6
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1answer
349 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 ...
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0answers
47 views

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 ...
31
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7answers
7k views

Do things get dirty in space?

I'm writing a computer game involving space exploration, where the player will come across space ships/stations that are hundreds/thousands/tens of thousands of years old. I'm also trying to make it ...
3
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2answers
137 views

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 ...
1
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1answer
224 views

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 ...
0
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0answers
65 views

Why interstellar space travellers would need to decelerate their ship? [duplicate]

In many sci-fi novels I have read, the interstellar travelers had their ship half the way accelerate, then half the way decelerate. I wonder why this is the chosen approach? Would not it be better to ...
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0answers
82 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
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3answers
3k views

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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2answers
2k views

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 ...
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1answer
446 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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3answers
200 views

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 ...
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2answers
1k 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 ...
8
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1answer
337 views

Can centrifugal force actually overcome the health problems of microgravity?

Microgravity has a negative health effect which exercises cannot completely remedy. Rotation of spacecraft and the resulting centrifugal force have been suggested as a source of pseudo-gravity. But ...
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2answers
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 ...
4
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3answers
112 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?
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2answers
569 views

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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1answer
258 views

If Oumuamua was alien space-junk, what would it look like, and would we be able tell?

I'm interested in our recent interstellar visitor 'Oumuamua. Whilst I'm happy to accept the official explanation of what it is, I'm curious about what state it would be in if it was actually alien ...
5
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1answer
287 views

What precisely was the character of the non-gravitational acceleration of Oumuamua?

When exactly did Oumuamua accelerate, when did it begin, when did it end, was it uniform across that period, and at what vector did it occur? I've seen some vague references to it lasting 100 days, ...
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0answers
44 views

Is it possible to “shape” area impacted by radiation shielding during interstellar travels? [closed]

If I have uderstood radiation/other shielding described in other questions correctly...it will be among other things provided by magnetic field(s) generated by superconductors. Is it possible to ...
1
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0answers
232 views

Backwards time dilation paradox [closed]

We have a pair of atomic clocks. Let's call them clock A and clock B. We switch both of them on at the same time. Clock A will stay on Earth and clock B will go with the astronauts. Astronauts with ...
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2answers
552 views

Can a reusable electric powered blimp stage for launch possible?

Originally this question asked about using blimps and electricity in replacement of boosters. As written then it was no good and got down votes. I had a few question marks and each question really ...
6
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2answers
125 views

A gedanken on being able to navigate back to Earth

Imagine a sphere centered at Earth with a radius of 4 light years. Suppose we pick a random point on the surface of this sphere and drop someone, let us say, "Joe" there. Will Joe be able to come back ...
2
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0answers
45 views

How could a local compact star remnant be used for space exploration? [closed]

If a neutron star or black hole was detected, say, only one parsec from here, would it help space exploration? Could it be used as a gravity assisted flyby portal for interstellar space flight? I ...
4
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3answers
899 views

How long could it take us to reach Alpha Centauri with current technology?

I was searching somewhere on how far away the nearest star system was and what that system was. Am I correct in that it is Alpha Centauri at roughly 4.75ish lightyears? If so, a probe or ship or ...
3
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3answers
455 views

Overcoming the speed of light thanks to ion thrusters

I am wondering if I could build an ion thruster, that is capable of exit velocity bigger that the speed of light. If I start with the equation for calculating exit velocity $v_e$ of a particle of ...
10
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3answers
2k views

If the Alcubierre Warp Drive was used to travel to Alpha Centauri, how much time would pass on Earth?

If the Alcubierre Warp Drive was used to travel to Alpha Centauri, how much time would pass on Earth? Per this article, it would take merely days to travel there. Say a ship travels there, spends a ...
1
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4answers
389 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 ...
1
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0answers
141 views

How much D2O does it take to power an interstellar generation ship O'Neill cylinder for 10,000 years?

Did I do the math right? I'm using full precision but write only 2 sig figs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fusion#Criteria_and_candidates_for_terrestrial_reactions ...
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1answer
134 views

Can light sails be stopped (after 20 years)? What will happen after the 20 years (after their journey)?

At that time will they be destroyed? Or can they come back? Or will we simply cut the laser power? And if we can make the size of the craft big enough so that a person can be on-board (without ...
7
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3answers
499 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 ...
2
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0answers
392 views

Could the sun be used as a super-amplifier for SETI transmissions? [closed]

I just want to know if there is any scientific merit to this, the premise of Cixen Liu's novel, "The Three-Body Problem". English translation published in 2016. See also Tor.com: Cixin Liu’s Award-...
14
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1answer
2k views

Why didn't the Pioneer probes maintain communications with Earth as long as the Voyagers have? [duplicate]

The Pioneer Missions. March 26, 2007 PIONEER 10 SPACECRAFT SENDS LAST SIGNAL - After more than 30 years, it appears the venerable Pioneer 10 spacecraft has sent its last signal to Earth. ...