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StarChip Enterprise heading for Proxima Centauri B

gleeful

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The European Southern Observatory has announced a major discovery today - there is an Earth-like planet in the 'goldilocks zone' just one star over in our stellar neighborhood.

Scientists have found a new planet that bears an uncanny resemblance to Earth

Orbiting the small star Proxima Centauri is a rocky planet around the same size as earth. Its been named 'Proxima b'. Surface temperatures mean its possible that there is liquid water on the surface. Its expected that future observations will tell us if the planet has an atmosphere. When the European ELT is completed, it will be powerful enough to analyse Proxima b's atmosphere and look for indicators of life - such as free Oxygen molecules.

What is really exciting is that within our lifetimes, we may be able to send a space probe to Proxima b. Even though its a little far away - at 40 Trillion km, it would take a regular space probe around 70,000 years to make the journey - work is begining on a new class of space probe called a StarChip which can reach a speed of 20% of light, and could reach Proxima 'b' in 20 years travel.



The energy needed to launch a regular probe at that speed is far beyond our technology. The StarChip idea solves this by being tiny. Its a probe-on-a-chip and includes everything in miniature. Total mass is around 10 grams or less. They can be printed by the thousand and released in earth orbit. Each one unfurls a solar sail, then a laser array on Earth surface blasts them up to 0.2c, with an acceleration of 60,000g.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/StarChip_(spacecraft)

Just in case you need reminding we do live in the 21st Century. Welcome to the future.
 


GDPR

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How vast 4 light years actually is yet tiny on the overall scheme of things.
 

neiphin

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can they be scaled up and launched from a lunar surface ?
 

Dadaist

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Anyone know how such a small craft will have the capability of sending data back?

OP title of the week - Engage.
 

ruserious

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Even better would be to build them in orbit and use huge mirrors to accelerate them... but we cant do that yet.
FFS while I was thinking about your thread having a dump, the idea of using mirrors came to me and I was genuinely rushing to come back to post about it with some grandeur sense of self worth having discovered a new possible way of speeding up the process and here I see it is well known as evidenced by your post.
 

Dadaist

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FFS while I was thinking about your thread having a dump, the idea of using mirrors came to me and I was genuinely rushing to come back to post about it with some grandeur sense of self worth having discovered a new possible way of speeding up the process and here I see it is well known as evidenced by your post.
A very rare case of an Irish man looking to use premature ejaculation in his favour.
 

Carlos Danger

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Anyone know how such a small craft will have the capability of sending data back?

OP title of the week - Engage.
There's probably a Vodaphone kiosk already there where it will be able to purchase a nano-sim card.
 

Carlos Danger

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A very rare case of an Irish man looking to use premature ejaculation in his favour.
And him on the toilet and all. All them Corkwegians are country blumkins.
 

johnhan278

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What's not tolerable to human survival is the X-Ray bursts Proxima sends out from time to time that would give your cancer's cancer's cancer cancer.

During the largest flares, the X-Ray output of Proxima Centauri is comparable to that of the Sun. I think I don't need to spell out what happens to a planet at 5% of Earth's SMA when that happens.

It's a big rock.
 

gleeful

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Anyone know how such a small craft will have the capability of sending data back?

OP title of the week - Engage.
The idea is to equip the StarChip with a 1 watt laser diode and use the sail as a reflector. Apparently that is just powerful enough to send a slow trickle of data back from Proxima b. OWL will be the detector at our end.

The power source will have to be a Beta decay nuclear battery. Building that, plus laser, plus a tiny telescope, plus powerful AI (this thing will have to make its own decisions out there - it cant wait 8 years for a question/answer round trip) all in a 10 gram mass budget... its challenging but possible.
 

Dadaist

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What's not tolerable to human survival is the X-Ray bursts Proxima sends out from time to time that would give your cancer's cancer's cancer cancer.

During the largest flares, the X-Ray output of Proxima Centauri is comparable to that of the Sun. I think I don't need to spell out what happens to a planet at 5% of Earth's SMA when that happens.

It's a big rock.
But the higher X-ray flux is not a "showstopper" for life, Anglada-Escude and his colleagues said.

"None of this does exclude the existence of an atmosphere, or of [surface] water," co-author Ansgar Reiners, a professor at the University of Göttingen's Institute of Astrophysics in Germany, said during Tuesday's news conference.
 

gleeful

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What's not tolerable to human survival is the X-Ray bursts Proxima sends out from time to time that would give your cancer's cancer's cancer cancer.

During the largest flares, the X-Ray output of Proxima Centauri is comparable to that of the Sun. I think I don't need to spell out what happens to a planet at 5% of Earth's SMA when that happens.

It's a big rock.
Proxima b is tidally locked. So half the planet is shielded from this as its always on the night side.
 

Dadaist

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The idea is to equip the StarChip with a 1 watt laser diode and use the sail as a reflector. Apparently that is just powerful enough to send a slow trickle of data back from Proxima b. OWL will be the detector at our end.

The power source will have to be a Beta decay nuclear battery. Building that, plus laser, plus a tiny telescope, plus powerful AI (this thing will have to make its own decisions out there - it cant wait 8 years for a question/answer round trip) all in a 10 gram mass budget... its challenging but possible.
With all the superficial nonsense in the World projects like this really capture the imagination.
 

storybud1

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Einstein said ,

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Forget about even laser propelled sh1te or any other speed of light drives, our understanding of space and the universe is tiny, we have to imagine our limited understanding of physics is stone age and understand dark matter/energy before we can even dream of getting out of our little solar system.

Our recent carbon based fuel propulsion and fixation on reaching 20% light speed is nonsense, we need to "imagine" time as a factor if we want to get out of this system.

Why is Time constant ? why is it always there ? Is it related to gravity/mass ? Dark energy/mass ? who sets the clock ? we are probably all just a play that happened billions of years ago but don't know it because we simply know nothing about time ?
 

cyberianpan

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On average ...any other life bearing planet will be waaaaaay behind us ...or waaaaaay ahead of us

That none of the ones waaaaaay ahead of us like what they saw when they came to visit, is telling ....

cyp
 

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