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Author Topic: flight to the stars  (Read 2672 times)

Offline Atomic-S

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flight to the stars
« on: 14/11/2007 02:18:51 »
If a spacecraft could travel at 1% of the speed of light, it would be able to reach alpha Centauri in about 400 years. Even though this interval well exceeds a human life span, it still is within a historically meaningful interval. Although the results would not be available within the generation that launched it, such a mission might be worth launching.

Still, 1% of the speed of light is about 100 times faster than the fastest spacecraft thus far ever flown. This is a significant challenge. But is it insurmountable? What are the chances that some advance in propulsion, using ion engines or some other means, might one day make this possible?


 

Offline Bored chemist

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flight to the stars
« Reply #1 on: 14/11/2007 19:28:39 »
Interesting question, but here's another point. Imagine that we solve the technical problems tomorrow and send a fammily  (or several) off to Alpha Centauri.
200 years ago the fastest travel was probably about 50MPH. I guess it's now about a thousand times that. Perhaps we would gain another thousand fold in the next 200 years in which case we would overtake the people who set off tomorrow and beat them to alpha centauri by a long while. My word they would be irritated when their descendents got there.
 

Offline lightarrow

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« Reply #2 on: 14/11/2007 22:38:45 »
I propose this solution: we send an unmanned starship; if, in the meantime, we can make a much faster starship, we send the new one, which then will find the old one, will copy its useful data slowly acquired along its trip, and then will proceed to destination. In this way the first starship would have made a useful job anyway, isnt'it?
(I don't really think in what I've written, but, who knows!  :))
 

Offline Atomic-S

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flight to the stars
« Reply #3 on: 25/11/2007 04:10:27 »
I would concur; I was thinking to begin with primarily in terms of an unmanned mission.
 

another_someone

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flight to the stars
« Reply #4 on: 25/11/2007 15:12:42 »
400 years ago (assuming the technology existed), we are talking about the year 1607, when the most powerful nations in the world were probably China, Turkey, and Spain.  So the Spanish sent a manned mission to Alpha Centuri.  By the time they returned to Earth, what kind of Earth would they have returned to?  Who would even be manning mission control (assuming one has a mission control for such a mission)?

The 400 years is one way, so really we are talking about an 800 year round trip, so launch date was really 1207, so it may have been launched by a team working from Greek Byzantium, or from one of the powerful Muslim Caliphates.
« Last Edit: 25/11/2007 15:14:18 by another_someone »
 

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flight to the stars
« Reply #4 on: 25/11/2007 15:12:42 »

 

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