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The Spacecraft That Could Allow Interstellar Travel


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Summary:

- Solar One: part light sail, part laser system, part nuclear reactor, could theoretically reach 22% the speed of light.

- The proposed spacecraft would be a combination of 3 near-tearm technologies, such as the US Navy's compact fusion reactor.

Source: https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/deep-space/a34907687/solar-one-radical-spacecraft-crewed-interstellar-travel-light-sail-fusion-reactor/

How would you overcome the challenges involved?

Edited by caballerodiez
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1 hour ago, caballerodiez said:

popular mechanics

They're famous for being overly enthusiastic about potential technologies, but often scant on the technical details wherein the devil lies. The article is not very specific  in explaining exactly what is Caballero's vehicle concept. It mentions a variety of technologies and crosslinks other PopMech articles but is not very deep about any of them.

This is the paper the article refers to.

Alberto Caballero's Solar One , unsatisfied with the payload capacity of the Breakthrough StarShot proposal, thought of his own interstellar spacecraft config. It would use a DE-STAR array and a mile-across version of NASA's Sunjammer Lightsail for acceleration, and an onboard portable nuclear fission reactor to power 1TW lasers for the decelleration phase. It also contains this unexplained paragraph:

Quote

"Carrying the necessary nuclear fuel on board might not be the best option. As in the Bussard Ramjet, it would be possible to collect hydrogen from space with a scoop placed at the front of the cockpit. The electromagnetic fields produced would drastically reduce the time of deceleration."

The paper proposes no solutions for structures, mission management, communication, crew resources (it's a manned mission, by the way), and only trace mention for cyro-sleep (NASA's TORPOR project) and protection from subluminal impacts and micrometeorites.

Well I'd probably overcome these problems by using a smaller simpler spacecraft whereby there are fewer question marks for safety, and so it's not as big of a deal if it fails somehow. In other words, I favor Breakthrough Starshot by comparison. It may be unwise to go for interstellar missions manned before anything else.

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