Questions tagged [interstellar-travel]

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

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5
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1answer
199 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
548 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 ...
8
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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1answer
104 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 ...
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0answers
195 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 ...
7
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2answers
361 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 ...
3
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2answers
2k 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
101 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.
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1answer
180 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 ...
7
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3answers
541 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
991 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
63 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 ...
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1answer
299 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 ...
6
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1answer
366 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 ...
6
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2answers
494 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
140 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 ...
3
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2answers
276 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 ...
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5answers
536 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 ...
2
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1answer
244 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, ...
20
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4answers
683 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.
2
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1answer
159 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 ...
2
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1answer
249 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
599 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-...
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0answers
532 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 ...
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2answers
969 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 ...
2
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1answer
149 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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2answers
576 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 ...
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2answers
1k 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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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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9answers
1k 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 ...
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3answers
1k 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
228 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 ...
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1answer
126 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
473 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
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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 ...
10
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4answers
305 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 ...
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 ...
11
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2answers
598 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
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2answers
789 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
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2answers
208 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 ...
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0answers
64 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
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1answer
257 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 ...
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 ...
2
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1answer
89 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
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2answers
693 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
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1answer
98 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
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1answer
205 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
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3answers
440 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 ...