Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [interstellar-travel]

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

3
votes
1answer
133 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
votes
1answer
220 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 ...
8
votes
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
412 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
votes
0answers
443 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
votes
2answers
954 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
votes
1answer
141 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 ...
-10
votes
1answer
365 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 ...
-7
votes
2answers
485 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
912 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 ...
1
vote
9answers
885 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
votes
3answers
993 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
214 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
votes
1answer
112 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
votes
1answer
389 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) ...
2
votes
0answers
41 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
265 views

Is stellar photosphere aerocapture possible, and if so, is it a viable option for rapid deceleration from relativistic speeds?

Is there a theoretical/experimental precedent for stellar photosphere aerocapture (if it is in fact, a thing)? Specifically, would using this method of deceleration be in some way more attractive than ...
30
votes
7answers
6k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
560 views

Are we actually that close to techniques of accelerating probes to speeds like a quarter $c$?

As recent research has been started by a team around Stephen Hawking under the name Breakthrough Starshot they are going for accelerating little probes up to 0.2~0.25$c$. There isn't that much ...
8
votes
2answers
628 views

Debris in interstellar flight

If we are ever able to built a spacecraft that can travel near the speed of light, how can we make it to our destination in one piece? I mean at such speed a tiny tiny rock (even space dust?) would ...
3
votes
2answers
189 views

Breakthrough Starshot?

I am trying to find out if there is any reason other than cost that Breakthrough Starshot is only looking at Alpha Centauri. It seems to me that once the laser system is in place that creating more ...
1
vote
0answers
52 views

Escape velocity of Alpha Centauri B: What is it? [closed]

So, assume that at one point in the distant future, humanity has a docking facility/military observation post in orbit around the star of Alpha Centauri B for.....well, military purposes, which could ...
3
votes
1answer
227 views

How powerful an antenna needs to be to signal Earth from other solar systems?

If a probe, equipped with a current state-of-the-art antenna, were to send data to Earth from Proxima Centauri orbit, what power would the antenna need to emit for the signal to be usefully readable ...
5
votes
1answer
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
82 views

Can I avoid a magnetar with an electromagnet?

Magnetars are generally accepted as existing. Wikipedia suggests that the magnetic forces are strong enough to kill you. I am assuming that virtually any spacecraft would have some magnetic ...
9
votes
2answers
421 views

Orion Project (NPP) Pusher Plate computer models and survivability?

Does anyone know of any modern (1990's - present) computer modeling of the Orion pusher plate and its reaction/survivability to repeated plasma impacts? Regarding the 1950s/1960s Orion Project using ...
4
votes
1answer
86 views

What are the benefits from using the Sun as a gravitational lens for beamed interstellar propulsion?

What would be gained from placing a powerplant with a photon beam canon and a light sail on opposite sides of the Sun, perfectly alligned, both at >550 AU from the Sun? That'swhere the lens starts, ...
7
votes
1answer
184 views

How could the laser from Earth to a spacecraft be used other than to propel its light sail?

The Starshot Breakthrough Initiative, sponsored by Yuri Milner, now finances the attempt to use a huge laser on Earth to propell a tiny spacecraft to huge velocity. Not having to carry the energy for ...
1
vote
3answers
422 views

How would an interstellar probe navigate the pull of gravity from stars and other large objects on the way?

Refer to the ambitious probe sent by Yuri Milner, Stephen Hawking and Mark Zuckerberg to Alpha Centauri: Yuri Milner is spending $100 million on a probe that could travel to Alpha Centauri within ...
8
votes
4answers
350 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.
3
votes
4answers
575 views

What is the closest to a perpetual motion machine that could be made to work in space?

In the movie "Alien" by Ridley Scott, there's a Drinking Bird which, presumably, the crew activated when entering stasis, and which is still going after they emerge. However anyone who has had one of ...
1
vote
1answer
623 views

Can a solar sail reduce the speed from 1-10% light speed to achieve a solar orbit?

If a spacecraft heading to Alpha Centauri at 10% light speed, given a close approach to the main star, would deploying large solar sails, just before entering the solar system, slow the spacecraft ...
0
votes
1answer
183 views

Interstellar probe travel problems?

As probes that we build travel farther, won't more problems occur? For example, as the nuclear energy thing (RTG) it goes on gets weaker over time. Or, solar panels will receive less light. Or even, ...
7
votes
1answer
235 views

Why are the Right Ascension of spacecraft leaving the Solar System so similar?

4 of the 5 spacecraft listed in the answer to this question have a Right Ascension of 18.5 hours, plus or minus 1.4 hours. That seems a bit of a coincidence. Is there a reason why spacecraft leave the ...
11
votes
1answer
360 views

Are any spacecraft heading remotely where Planet 9 is expected to be?

Planet 9, the hypothetical planet predicted Batygin and Brown, is expected to have an apoasis near the galactic center. Is there a spacecraft that is heading in that direction? Specifically, they ...
0
votes
1answer
315 views

How many pulse units would be required to reach 1% and 10% the speed of light?

For an unmanned probe which can theoretically withstand 100G acceleration, from Lunar orbit, in regards to Project Orion.
0
votes
3answers
164 views

Would it be practical to lay a fiber optic cable to Alpha Centauri?

Would it be possible to lay a fiber optic cable over long distances and use it to transfer information- for example, as a sort of telescope?
5
votes
4answers
658 views

Is it pure luck that the voyager 1 survived to travel beyond our solar system in interstellar space?

A random question. At the very first try we succeeded. Though it might not be strange, What was the probability of surviving so long with so many external variables and constants.?
3
votes
1answer
223 views

Interplanetary space debris

How would a spaceship traveling through interplanetary space, let's say to Mars, avoid all the space debris or there isn't any interplanetary space debris at all, is it only orbital debris around the ...
1
vote
2answers
419 views

Cyclotron engines as a means of thrust for interplanetary travel?

How feasible is it to use a cyclotron in this manner for space propulsion? Inject small amounts (aliquots) of ionized matter into cyclotron at some high integer multiple n of the cyclotron frequency $...
5
votes
0answers
102 views

What to study in interstellar space? [closed]

Are there advantages to observing the universe from interstellar space? What kind of scientific experiments would be useful for a spacecraft outside of the Solar System's Oort cloud?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Collecting antimatter from Van Allen radiation belts

I just read an article by John P. Millis, Ph.D which says that antimatter is created in the Van Allen radiation belts. I am writing a novel where a future starship with FTL capability, powered by a ...
1
vote
0answers
148 views

Do all spacecrafts first enter orbit and then transfer to another body? [duplicate]

I would like to know if all spacecraft that have visited other planets first orbited our own planet and then performed an orbital transfer, or if there have been some that just went directly to the ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there interstellar Lagrange points?

Is there for example some L1 like libration point where the Hill spheres of the Sun and of the Alpha+Beta Centauri meet? And are Lagrange points between stars inside of a binary system, like Alpha and ...
9
votes
1answer
283 views

Is interstellar plasma a danger for future probes and astronauts?

As Voyager 1 continues its trek across interstellar space it has been reporting increased amounts of CME Plasma and Interstellar Plasma. When these two types of plasma interact a shock wave is ...
1
vote
3answers
939 views

Are exoplanets in the habitable zone suitable for human colonization?

If they found the those planets in the habitable zone, are they planning ahead for human settlement of them?
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Could a ship be launched from a mothership while in interstellar space? [closed]

Say you've got a mothership that is on its way to a star. Could you launch a smaller ship from it while it's in either the coasting or braking phase of the journey? A scout ship, for instance. Or ...
26
votes
2answers
59k views

What is the fastest speed ever reached in space travel as measured from the point in space from which it was launched to its current/final position?

Answers.com lists the New Horizons to have the fastest rocket. Is this info still valid? 7 light hours in 11 years at 50,000 km/h?
0
votes
1answer
149 views

Given hypothetical support post WWII, where would space exploration be today? [closed]

I realize this may belong over in SciFi & Fantasy, but it's Friday and maybe the experts here will humor me. Imagine if you will that the Cold War never happened. Instead, after WWII the ...
2
votes
1answer
222 views

Is there good estimates/measures on the variables that make up the Fermi paradox?

Here's what I've got: Universe size: Milky way is 100,000 LY wide. Nearest galaxy is 2.2m LY away. Number of stars: about 300,000,000,000 in the Milky way. 100,000,000,000 galaxies. Age of ...