10

This is discussed on the project website. Essentially each probe would carry a small laser and use its lightsail to focus that beam back towards the solar system, where a huge and very sensitive telescope array would be needed to detect it. Images of the target planet could be transmitted by a 1Watt laser onboard the nanocraft, in a ‘burst mode’ which uses ...


8

In the video of the Keynote Speaker (and former NASA ARC director) Pete Worden (also here)'s talk Breakthrough Discuss 2016 – Breakthrough Starshot Challenges the challenges of using the deployed photon sail (for the initial laser-based acceleration) as a reflector "dish" for an optical transmission back to Earth is discussed a bit. The speaker ...


6

There seems to be very little published information at this stage. There is a main page that has been set up for the initiative (Yuri Milner's Breakthrough Foundation). The most interesting bits seem to be a list of challenges yet to be solved and a long page of research papers. There's an interesting roadmap document too. As for slowing down - no chance....


5

For reporting back from Alpha Centauri, the roadmap's pages 25-26 and figure 20 predict that an onboard 10 watt laser with narrow spread (and many assumptions, such as at most 40 photons per bit) could transmit from Alpha Centauri to a 30 m reflector mirror on Earth at 70 Mbps. But the power source for a 10 W transmitter is heavy! Plutonium-238's power ...


3

They don't propose slowing down, which is part of why they don't expect high resolution. In fact, they seem to expect most of the acceleration will occur from the beginning, by the time they hit Pluto's orbit, they expect them to be going at a very high speed. The communication is expected to be done via lasers. Maybe they can re-convert their reflective ...


2

You're looking at it wrong. Yes, pulling 1g payload with a 60,000g acceleration would be a tremendous engineering challenge. (I wouldn't call it impossible, though—that's not too far beyond gun accelerations and we routinely fire electronics out of guns.) However, that's not how you do something like this. You do not want to pull a payload!! ...


2

Power limitations are tricky, in particular choosing a power source whose mass isn't much more than that of the spacecraft. Nonrechargeable batteries have too short a shelf life. Internal combustion engines that small have been tried, and abandoned. A milligram-scale RTG + supercap, maybe with a Diamond battery, is the only way I know to sustain 40 Kbps to ...


1

How far could we effectively propel the craft? For space travel, "how far" isn't a very good question to determine the difficulty of space travel. Instead, a much better metric is the delta-v, or change in velocity. And to answer that question, their website says that tiny unmanned probes would be able to be accelerated to about 15-20% the speed of light. ...


1

I think that the problem of communication could be done without needing an interstellar power source. What if the super powered telescopes of earth are used to retrieve signal from the ship, and the ships signals are how it reflects incoming beams from a high-powered emitter on earth. Or Since they are micro-ships, have a specific maneuver or pack pattern as ...


1

Solar sails often suggest a couple of modes for slowing down. 1) Have a launch laser at the target location to slow it down the same way. Assumes much infrastructure. 2) Use the solar energy of the target sun to slow the sail down. I.e. Turn it around and spend a longer time decelerating as you get closer and closer. 3) There was a model, where the ...


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