Questions tagged [interstellar-travel]

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

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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?...
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Finding way back in Intergalactic travel

Is it possible to create GPS-equivalent system for space travel to guide us in which direction to travel? Assume that if we are able to reach a far-off galaxy millions or billions of light-years away ...
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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 ...
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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-...
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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 ...
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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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644 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 $...
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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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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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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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, ...
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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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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 ...
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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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Do we have the technology to colonize the nearest habitable planet by sending hundreds of people with spacecraft?

Somewhere I read that the nearest earth-like planet is 19 light years away. If this is true, and there are no closer earth-like planets, do we have the knowledge, technology and resources to colonize ...
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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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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 ...
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Can we use interstellar hydrogen as a fuel for interstellar travel?

From my understanding, space is not entirely empty. Infact, between the voids of space are molecules or maybe individual atoms of hydrogen just floating around. I understand that gathering massive ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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218 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 ...
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1answer
255 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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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486 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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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?
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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. ...
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1answer
110 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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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491 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 ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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 ...