At about four light-years from the sun, Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to the solar system. While that may seem relatively close, it would still take humanity thousands of years to reach, based on current propulsion technology.
In fact, it took Voyager 1, which was launched in 1977, 37 years to reach the outskirts of the solar system. That spacecraft flew at 17 km/sec, less than 0.006% the speed of light.
“We have to radically rethink our strategy or give up our dreams of reaching the stars in a way romanticized in books and movies,” wrote Philip Lubin, of Univ. of California, Santa Barbara’s Physics Dept.
In his paper, “A Roadmap to Interstellar Flight,” and in a video from NASA 360, Lubin states that photonic propulsion, or the propulsion of objects through light particles, could help humanity achieve quick interstellar travel, turning science fiction into science fact.
Currently, NASA estimates that it would take humans roughly six months to travel to Mars. According to Lubin, his theoretical technology could propel a 100 kg robotic craft to Mars in a few days, and a shuttle-sized craft in about one month. The former robotic craft would travel around 1,200 km/sec.
The Latest on: Interstellar travel
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The Latest on: Interstellar travel
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This Google experiment already in the public domain will allow you to travel back into time to your favourite city ...
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The Vera C. Rubin Observatory, formerly the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), will commence operations sometime next year. Not wanting to let a perfectly good acronym go to waste, its first ...
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- Eva Green discusses her 'empowering' mother-daughter astronaut movie Proximaon November 6, 2020 at 1:32 pm
Proxima' star Eva Green talks about her new astronaut movie, which explores a mother-daughter relationship and whether sacrificing time to explore space is really worth it.
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We've also littered the heavens. We know it might be a problem someday. There's everything we've left behind on the Moon and on Mars, the probes we've sent deep into space, and probes like Venera 7 ...
- New evidence our neighborhood in space is stuffed with hydrogenon October 31, 2020 at 8:24 am
Only the two Voyager spacecraft have ever been there, and it took than more than 30 years of supersonic travel ... the closest reaches of interstellar space. In this stellar no-man's land ...
- Light Sails Will Unlock Interstellar Travel. This One Is the Most Promising Yet.on October 22, 2020 at 7:44 am
Light sail concepts date back hundreds of years, with advocates like Carl Sagan and Bill Nye. The "light" part is photons, but the lighter in mass these sails are, the better they work. A new “light ...
- Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World (Switch eShop)on October 14, 2020 at 5:00 pm
Step into the world of interstellar travel, where Space Pirates lurk at every corner. Kaptain Brawe, a Space Police officer will embark on a journey filled with quests, conspiracies and general ...
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