Questions tagged [interstellar-travel]

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

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Theoretically, could gravitational time dilation ever be an issue when visiting an alien planet?

If humanity ever got to the point of being able to explore new planets (assuming we could land there), are there any known entities in the universe that are so massive that gravitational time dilation ...
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Gravity Assist braking

Usually gravity assist maneuvers are used to accelerate a probe without expending propellant. But could gravity assist maneuver be used to brake and insert into orbit? Is there a formula to use for ...
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Realistic space battle, how it could looke like? No hollywood version or videogames like [closed]

I am about to program space exploration simulation game in the future, but I need to consider many factors. I would like to be as much realistic as possible, but keeping the game playable as well and ...
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Space travel: Is there an speed limit lower than speed of light?

Propulsion exhaust speed is lower than speed of light, I think and if it is so, than how could spaceship go faster that exhaust speed? Right? So exhaust speed is a maximum speed for spaceship? (If ...
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4answers
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Would it be possible with a light-speed ship to reach intergalactic space in a human lifetime?

I have one issue coming out of one conversation between me and my roommates (none of us professional in the subject of space)! If one had a ship which could approach light speed, could one reach ...
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1answer
309 views

How quickly could a craft find its location using only pulsars?

I'm only just beginning to scratch the surface of the possibilities in interstellar travel. I know that pulsars can be independently identified by means of measuring their pulses, and that once enough ...
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1answer
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Did NASA provide the wrong year for Voyager 1's close approach to AC +79 3888?

This article says it will pass by the star in about 40,000 years. However, my quick and dirty calculation shows that Voyager will only be about a few light years away in 40,000 years, still quite a ...
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3answers
902 views

Maybe I can't really reach the speed of light, but how close could I get?

Let's say I build a ship, get in it and take off into the dark. When I leave Earth, I measure my acceleration at 1g and my ship is capable of producing that level of power indefinitely. There will be ...
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1answer
635 views

Is nuclear fusion a viable means of powering spacecraft?

Today while studying about nuclear reactions, I found that we can produce a large amount of energy. So, why not introduce this energy in our space exploration rockets? It may decrease the time of ...
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3answers
1k views

Physics and math behind flight through solar system [closed]

I wrote a program that simulates a solar system. I was able to calculate the locations for every planet on its elliptical route for any given time. In a second project, I managed to simulate newtonian ...
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1answer
755 views

What is the escape velocity of the Alpha Centauri system at the binary's barycenter

It's going to take a lot of money, time and resources to design & launch interstellar probes. It would certainly be helpful if we could develop a mission profile that would lead to an orbital ...
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What spaceship materials could naturally experience radioactive decay and transmute on a million year interstellar journey? [closed]

For extremely long journeys, deterioration of spaceship materials becomes a concern beyond mere rust or corrosion. Assuming a ship is sufficiently protected against radiation and other colliding ...
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258 views

Effects of prolonged space-travel on the human psyche

Astronauts are highly trained specialists, carefully selected for many characteristics, among them their personality. In many science fiction movies or novels, whole populations travel in space ships ...
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416 views

What can an astronaut do better than the Curiosity rover? [closed]

Firstly, I want to say that I'd be the first person with their hand up when asked, "So who wants to go to space?". There's nothing I'd love more than to go. But from looking at the amount of ...
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2answers
752 views

Once lightyears out of the solar system, could you expect to get feasible propulsion with a solar sail?

It's been said before that a solar sail could be used for solar and extrasolar missions - if you aren't in a hurry. However, as you can't spell solar sail without the solar part, I'm wondering if you ...
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293 views

How can we determine the optimal destination for a manned mission beyond our solar system?

The 100YSS mission currently includes a discussion about Alpha Centauri (our closest star) as a potential target destination, but is it really the best candidate for the 100YSS? To narrow the ...
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1answer
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Minimum velocity to achieve fusion with Bussard ramjet

I think that other than in a star, nobody has achieved any fusion process with a net positive energy output. But reading about the Bussard ramjet a few minutes ago, it seems that this might be ...
9
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1answer
703 views

Where could you go in a 20km iron asteroid?

We know from this question that an asteroid 20 km in diameter is feasible as a hollow space habitat. There are many variables in real life, but assuming you had a spherical solid iron asteroid 20 km ...
9
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1answer
343 views

How to design a spacecraft to cope with redshift?

Redshift occurs whenever an observer moves away from (shifted to the red) or approaches (shifted to the blue; blueshift) an object that emits radiation and the other way around. Traveling towards ...

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