Questions tagged [interstellar-travel]

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

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13
votes
2answers
736 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 ...
18
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5answers
2k views

Would leaving the ecliptic plane offer any benefit to interstellar travel?

Aside from the obvious answer of being able to easily avoid the larger bodies in the Solar System. I'm primarily curious as to the mechanics of this endeavor -- would there be any benefit to ...
25
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4answers
10k views

Could the sun be used as a gravity assist outside the solar system (with current tech)?

I think I might have understood what this XKCD comic is trying to do. The diagram is proposing to use the Oberth effect at closest approach to the sun to escape the solar system! (image license: CC ...
9
votes
1answer
690 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 ...
20
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2answers
2k views

What is the largest naturally occurring body that could be hollowed and safely lived in?

Some proposals for living in space envision finding an asteroid that is a solid chunk of something (i.e. Nickel Iron), hollow it out, slap on an air lock, and you have a home. Add a drive and you ...
19
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6answers
7k views

What limits the speed of space probes currently?

...other than budget, obviously. Our computers nowadays are good enough that we should be capable of sending a probe to a neighbor star system and back, and get some pretty good analysis reports. We ...
10
votes
1answer
291 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
10
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6answers
719 views

Alternative data transfer channels for inter-stellar probes?

The problem how it is possible to receive data from Voyager I at all is dealt in this question: https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/13227/how-earth-communicates-with-voyager-i However, there ...
9
votes
1answer
337 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 ...
11
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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 ...
16
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4answers
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 ...
13
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4answers
2k views

How would manned interstellar travel become feasible? [closed]

What is the actual feasibility of interstellar travel? For instance, a manned journey to Proxima Centauri, given the distance, what technology would need to be developed/perfected for such a journey?...
8
votes
1answer
506 views

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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