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originally posted by: Davg80
a reply to: Jonjonj
from the bbc news report
"Earlier this year, the billionaire venture capitalist Yuri Milner said he was investing $100m in studies to develop tiny spacecraft that could be propelled across the galaxy by lasers.
These would travel at perhaps 20% of the speed of light, shortening the journey to a star like Proxima Centauri to mere decades."
During the first half of 2016 Proxima Centauri was regularly observed with the HARPS spectrograph on the ESO 3.6-metre telescope at La Silla in Chile and simultaneously monitored by other telescopes around the world.
originally posted by: Jonjonj
a reply to: boncho
I never understood why they didn't work on sending a probe to Alpha Centuri....should've been done right after the moon landings TBH, or even in place of it. They worked on a multi-generational ark to travel there, which I think was 100-150 year trip?
I am fairly certain that voyages of 4 light years are beyond the skills we possess right now with current tech, never mind the 70's.
A number of designs were proposed in the late 1940's and 1950's to get around the temperature limitation and to exploit the enormous power of the atomic bomb, estimated to be on the order of 10 billion horsepower for a moderate-sized device (8). The Martin Company designed a nuclear pulse rocket engine with a "combustion chamber" 130 feet in diameter. Small atomic bombs with yields under 0.1 kiloton (a kiloton is the energy equivalent of 1000 tons of the high explosive TNT) would have been dropped into this chamber at a rate of about one per second (9); water would have been injected to serve as propellant.
Freeman Dyson performed the first analysis of what kinds of Orion missions were possible to reach Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to the Sun. His 1968 paper "Interstellar Transport" (Physics Today, October 1968, p. 41–45)...
...At 0.1c, Orion thermonuclear starships would require a flight time of at least 44 years to reach Alpha Centauri, not counting time needed to reach that speed (about 36 days at constant acceleration of 1g or 9.8 m/s2). At 0.1c, an Orion starship would require 100 years to travel 10 light years.
The biggest design above is the "super" Orion design; at 8 million tonnes, it could easily be a city. In interviews, the designers contemplated the large ship as a possible interstellar ark.
New Project Plans To Send A Spacecraft To Alpha Centauri In 20 Years
A new project has been announced that will attempt to launch a small spacecraft to our nearest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri, and return images and data to Earth within a generation.
The ambitious proposal called Breakthrough Starshot was revealed today by billionaire Yuri Milner, Professor Stephen Hawking, and a host of other scientists and experts. The $100 million research project will seek to prove a proposed concept for interstellar travel, using a tiny satellite with a large laser-powered sail, with a plan to launch a mission to Alpha Centauri in the near future.
“Today, we commit to this next great leap into the cosmos,” said Hawking at a press conference today. “Because we are human, and our nature is to fly.”