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And even if we could go near the SOL, why would we? The time dilation would be so extreme, when anyone got back, thousands of years will have passed on Earth, and everyone they knew and cared for them would be long dead, let alone those who knew of the mission (planet of the Apes anyone?)
* Beta Canum Venaticorum: a Sun-like star about 26 light years away in the constellation Canes Venatici. This was Turnbull’s top choice for SETI.
* HD 10307: a near replica of the Sun but with a companion star. Located about 42 light-years away, this star has almost the same mass, temperature and metal-content as the Sun.
* HD 211415: has about half the metal content of the Sun and is a little cooler; just slightly farther away than HD 10307.
* 18 Sco: a near-identical twin of the Sun, located in the constellation Scorpio.
* 51 Pegasus: The first planet beyond our solar system was detected around this star in 1995. Although that planet was a gas giant, Turnbull thinks 51 Pegasus could harbor rocky planets as well.
* Epsilon Indi A: Turnbull’s top TPF mission choice; this star is only about one-tenth as bright as the Sun and about 11.8 light-years away in the constellation Indus.
* Epsilon Eridani: This star is a bit smaller and cooler than our Sun; it is located about 10.5 light-years away in the constellation Eridanus.
* Omicron2 Eridani: A yellow-orange star about 16 light-years away that is roughly the same age as our Sun.
* Alpha Centauri B: This triple star system is located just 4.35 light-years away and one of the Sun’s closest stellar neighbors.
* Tau Ceti: This star is a G-class star and is in the same brightness category as the Sun. Despite being relatively metal-poor, it is long-lived enough for complex life forms to evolve.
The journey to Alpha Centauri B orbit would take about 100 years and another 4.39 years would be necessary for the data to reach Earth.
Originally posted by Apass
Think of what will happen if the rocket explodes on take off...well anytime between lift off and orbit inserion....
Originally posted by cmdrkeenkid
Pretty much nothing, just like what would happen if a craft carrying an RTG for a power source (a la Cassini) were to explode on lift off. Despite popular beliefs, it's pretty hard to spread radiation from an explosion like that - especially when the containment is designed specifically to not allow for that.
Originally posted by The Director
Just the idea of getting some kind of ship as far as the nearest star would be enough to get scientist’s brains into a high gear. Aim high!
Anyway, the idea of setting up a colony is of course a good one (maybe even a romantic one?) but that is providing there is a rock of some kind that could sustain a large number of people.
But it doesn't use conventional rocket propulsion, so it shouldn't be able to explode easily.
Anyway, if we had to mount a mission to another star immediately, the best propulsion choice that could be made would be with an ion engine.