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Project Longshot...

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posted on Jun, 18 2005 @ 10:10 PM
I searched ATS and found nothing about a declassified joint NASA/U.S. Navy effort to send an unmanned recon probe to Alpha Centauri- the next star!

Longshot would be assembled at the International Space Station, and be propelled on a 100-year flight to the nearest star by a pulsed fusion engine of the type proposed in the Daedalus design. The 6.4-ton spacecraft would carry a 300-kilowatt fusion reactor to power instruments and engine startup, and use a 250-kW laser to transmit data to Earth.

Kind of makes you wonder if all the 'troubles' the station experiences are just for 'cover'.

I found this while reviewing interstellar propulsion proposals.

Anybody ever 'see' the station as it passes over with an amateur telescope?

[edit on 18-6-2005 by Chakotay]

posted on Jun, 18 2005 @ 10:33 PM
Why would a 6.4 ton craft need to be assembled in orbit?

posted on Jun, 18 2005 @ 11:13 PM
I don't get it, what is the need for such a spacecraft? If this thing is going to take a 100 years to get there, I rather wait a 100 years for them to develop a spaceship that can make it there in and few days.

What is there to see when they get there? It's just a star, no planets, no nothing. Unless they know something we don't?

[edit on 6/18/2005 by GoldEagle]

posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 03:11 AM
Great find Chakotay a very intresting post , it makes you think about how the craft would keep going with the electronics exposed to space . We have learned a lot about what works and what doesnt from the extraordinary voyager probes that are still going to this day.

posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 01:00 PM
To answer your question about seeing the space station, I have seen it a few times. I have a "less expensive" meade telescope that I've seen the station with a few times. All you can make out are the solar arrays, which look like two bright dots, and they are bright!!! I felt like I had been staring at Bob Barker's head for too long the first time I saw it. I doubt you could use an amateur scope to see any craft docked at the station though.

posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 01:59 PM
Interesting... I'am a bg fan of space explorations... Nice post... Please U2U me if you find something that you don't want to share with everybody...

posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 03:28 PM
Why is the navy intrested in seeing alpha centuri? Why is not the air force spae command in one this?

posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 05:55 PM
From wikipedia and wikipedia, it sounds like it has been given up on.

It was done in the late 80s and early 90s. The Wiki articles are weird, saying Alpha (also ISS sometimes) was a precurser to SSF (never made). At any rate, it seems like this project has passed us by.

The method of transport was similar to Daedalus, which, if any of you don't know about, was to basically chuck atomic bombs out the back of the rocket.

posted on Jun, 20 2005 @ 12:40 AM

Originally posted by bushfriend
Why is the navy intrested in seeing alpha centuri? Why is not the air force spae command in one this?

The Navy has had its hand in space for a long time- remember Project Clementine and Project Orion? It has had a big advantage in deep space operations thanks to the nuclear submarine program (heavy structure architecture and radiation shielding, powerplant, life support, computation, communication, intelligence gathering, deep black operations experience and covert launch capability) and its contractors (General Dynamics is a major player in both submersibles and spacecraft). The Navy was a prime player in the Moon Base projects of the 1950's, 60's and 70's (Project Lunex) and provided both logistical support and Astronauts to Apollo. The Air Force has more experience with lightweight structures (aircraft) and short-term operations (sorties)- which the Navy also has in the carriers.

So the Navy is a major space player. Maybe that's why Roddenberry called it Starfleet Command. And, it has Marines. May we never need them in space.

As to why they are interested in seeing it. This is only my opinion; but the military never does anything without strategic interest. Defensive, offensive, recon, opening of trade or colonization- military interest is military.

Amorymeltzer wrote:

At any rate, it seems like this project has passed us by.

Seems. A fascinating word.

I have a feeling we are much farther along in space than is public knowledge. Which is a good thing. Especially if we really have some sort of 'company' in the neighborhood.

Also fascinating: the Russians would have to be 'in' on this if it went forward secretly using the ISS. Could this have something to do with the 'Alien threat' speeches Reagan gave with Gorbachev?

Bottom line: the Gov't want(ed) to open a keyhole on our neighboring star. The question is why the official interest? I don't think naive simple curiousity is sufficient reason to punch through a study like this hundreds of years before its time. We don't know that there aren't small, Earth-like planets there (publicly) yet. Planets or no, there may be- something- out there. Maybe a signal, or a back-calculated trajectory, something along the lines Ron Bracewell at Stanford was thinking of.

Keep digging on this.

[edit on 20-6-2005 by Chakotay]

posted on Jun, 20 2005 @ 08:58 PM
Found some more info. Our nearest neighbor is a multiple star system. There have been several studies that indicate it has stable orbits for earth-like planets despite its multiple suns. Centauri A is a G2V star, slightly larger and quite similar to the Sun; and Centauri B is a K2V smaller than the Sun. Proxima Centauri is an M5 (long-lived) red dwarf. There is also a possible substellar companion (Dyson sphere?) associated with Proxima.

The final Project Longshot report is referenced here.

Note the specialized search tools I used that may be of use to you:

Google Scholar and Pro-Physik.

There is a cool site on Centauri here.

While it seems to be a stillborn theoretical study, NASA usually uses tech that is about ten years post-military. Not too much news is coming out of the new Propulsion Research Laboratory at Marshall Space Flight Center (usually NASA centers are quite vocal about breakthroughs)- so I remain curious.

Optical signals (if there is a probe) from a laser downlink could be viewed with an OSETI set-up (if one knew the frequency, modulation, and possible burst-modes).

Finally, I am hearing some things about multiple star systems like Centauri being used as 'gravitational assist engines' to accelerate spacecraft to enormous velocities, using multiple flyby trajectories. In fact, Centauri has the capability to accelerate entire planets to system-escape velocities. Our neighboring system is a virtual 'warp drive engine'. Conveniently arranged at our doorstep.

And thus deserving of some keyholing.

[edit on 20-6-2005 by Chakotay]

posted on Jun, 20 2005 @ 09:37 PM
Very nice find(s) Chakotay!!!!! The data about the small companion to Proxima Centauri from the Astronomical Journal that you provided a link for is kind of old, from 1996. I wonder if any new studies have been done. I think I'm gonna do a little searching myself. Very interesting, thanks Chakotay!!!!

posted on Jun, 20 2005 @ 10:54 PM

Originally posted by looking4truth
I'm gonna do a little searching myself.

Keep us informed, my brother. When I first heard Stanton Friedmann I was quite skeptical of his claims that existing technology could enable interstellar flight in reasonable transit times. This study just underscores that Friedmann was right- at least about the stars being within reach. After you have lived half a century, you will realize that 100 years is nothing to invest when as large a prize as a whole planetary system is out there presumably for the taking. We make the right moves now, and our children's great-grandchildren could be living with three Suns in the sky. For real.

If the system has nothing but junkyard planets like Venus- well, then, terraforming could be a patience-trying venture. If the system is already occupied on the other hand, life becomes quite 'interesting'. We might even find our Ancestors footprints up there. What a grand opportunity. I know what I would do if I had the power to make this happen.

We would go.

[edit on 20-6-2005 by Chakotay]

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