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NASA Space

NASA Begins Planning For An Interstellar Mission In 2069 (nypost.com) 143

Long-time Slashdot reader cold fjord writes: During the 2017 Geophysical Union Conference, scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory revealed that they are planning an interstellar exploration mission for the year 2069. The goal is to send a probe to Alpha Centauri, some 4.3 light years away. NASA is working on technology to allow a spacecraft to reach 10% of the speed of light, which might allow them to reach Alpha Centauri in as soon as 44 years.

A number of technologies are being explored, although there are many practical hurdles. The New Scientist adds that the 2016 NASA budget directed NASA to study interstellar travel that could reach 10% of the speed of light by 2069.

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NASA Begins Planning For An Interstellar Mission In 2069

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  • We don't have the required tech nor engineering skill to get a useful probe to our nearest neighbouring star in a human lifetime.

    We might as well say we're planning to launch a human expedition on an Orion drive-powered O'Neill cylinder generation ship; it'd be more inspiring.

    • by thinkwaitfast ( 4150389 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @07:58AM (#55803881)
      Fifty years is a long time. And with an ion engine, we would only need ~10^35000 kg of propellant!
    • The communications technology to reach across 4.3 light years doesn't exist yet either. Look at the great lengths that we need to stay in touch with the Voyager aircraft just barely out of our solar system - launched 40 years ago.

      And don't expect humans to survive all the hard radiation that's out there either. So it'd have to be a robot mission.

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @02:29PM (#55805113)

        So it'd have to be a robot mission.

        Duh. Both the summary and TFA make it clear that this would be a probe, not a manned mission. It would be a flyby, passing through the Alpha Centauri solar system in minutes, since slowing down and going into orbit would require exponentially more fuel. The proposals are for a probe the size of a pack of cigarettes, or even the size of a postage stamp, driven by a laser boosted sail.

        The proposed budget is ~ $100M. A manned mission would cost many many trillions.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          So it'd have to be a robot mission.

          Duh. Both the summary and TFA make it clear that this would be a probe, not a manned mission. It would be a flyby, passing through the Alpha Centauri solar system in minutes,

          It depends on where you define the boundaries of the Star System. If you include the cocoon of debris enveloping the star [an Oort Cloud-like structure], and your ship can travel at c, we're talking about more than a year.

          Ten percent of c? Years;

          • It depends on where you define the boundaries of the Star System

            I was thinking of the time to pass through the Goldilocks zone, where liquid surface water can exist. It would zip through that in about an hour at 0.1c.

            • I was thinking of the time to pass through the Goldilocks zone, where liquid surface water can exist.

              "Goldilocks Zone"? Meh. We don't know for certain that it is possible to generate life in the sub-surface oceans of icy moons, but we do know that it is possible to combine chemical energy, liquid water and extended periods of time in such an environment. To discount such environments would be rash. It would make a mockery of any pretensions we have to being rational organisms.

              At the costs of such an expedi

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          The proposed budget is ~ $100M. A manned mission would cost many many trillions.

          That sounds more like an early concept exploration budget, you don't even get a Mars probe for $100M. If they can even find a workable interstellar probe concept I'm guessing it'll be closer to a trillion dollar project. And sending humans to Alpha fucking Centauri? Not if you dedicated the whole GDP of the world from now to 2069 to the task.

          • you don't even get a Mars probe for $100M.

            The proposed mission to Alpha Centauri has a thousandfold smaller payload than the recent Mars missions.

          • And sending humans to Alpha fucking Centauri?

            So?

            You don't do that. If you think it is important to send the genetics of humans to Alpha Centauri, then that's fine and good. Send the information. It's a small fraction of a gramme if you encode it as DNA molecules, probably less if you send it in some other encoding. You'll also need to send the information to build an incubation system, and to build the necessary infrastructure, but those are tasks that are under research already. Long before the "landing l

        • The proposals are for a probe the size of a pack of cigarettes, or even the size of a postage stamp,

          Which seems senseless to me. Could such a probe even transmit anything back to Earth? Could such a probe collect interesting data in the first place? Could it serve any purpose other than crashing into a planet with a potentially hostile civilization?

          • Could such a probe even transmit anything back to Earth?

            Pretty hard to do on it's own. But since the proposal only requires the "launching lasers" to fire for a few months (until the probe is out in the Kuiper Belt) ... would you really only launch one probe then dismantle the lot?

            Of course you woudn't - you'd launch a whole series of probes. Some at (say) 2.01 c, 1.99 c, 1.98 c, 1.97 c, ... (and not necessarily in that order) so that you havve multiple probes slowly separating in distance from Earth. The

    • A PR start for somebody, perhaps, but not NASA. According to the New Scientist article the 2016 funding bill required them to perform such a study - even writing the performance and launch date into the legislation (because that works so well with other projects, right?)

      So NASA produced the required study.

      It was required by law to describe a 10% c mission to be launched in 2069.

      Your dollars at work, as directed by legislators.

    • to get a useful probe to our nearest neighbouring star in a human lifetime.

      Doing (whatever they're planning) within a human lifetime wasn't part of the design specification.

      If you have a mentality that cannot conceive of starting a project that neither you nor any children you choose to have (and can afford to be-sprog) will live to see the end of, and that, then clearly you are a person who is severely lacking in ambition. People like you will never be the progenitors (genetically, or psychologically) of

      • It obviously never occurred to you that I MIGHT have put that condition in because it's tough enough to get funding for a project that takes more than a single political administration, and downright impossible to get taxpayers to fund something they won't live to see a return on.

        You lack the experience, wisdom and intelligence.

        And you're a complete asshole, too.

  • Such a goal practically requires mastering nuclear fusion by that point in time. Now it's possible that I'm too much of a pessimist but I always placed practical fusion drive about two centuries from now. At least judging from recent spacecraft propulsion developments, it doesn't seem plausible that after the past fifty years of "progress", we'll jump straight to an interstellar drive in another fifty years.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I bet your fun at partys.

      • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @08:05AM (#55803903)
        It's spelled "you're" and "parties". And you have no idea.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          There is knowledge, and there is intelligence. Possession of the former is no guarantee of possessing the latter. You exemplify this in quite the Trumpian manner.

          • That's weird; as a Central European political centrist, I'm usually accused of being a hopeless commie by you Yankees. :-p This is a new one. On the other topic, there's a certain level of correlation between the two. At the very least, below a certain level of intelligence, amassing knowledge becomes harder and ultimately impossible. So while there's no binaries in that matter, softer inferences do become possible.
            • by Anonymous Coward

              You exemplify the worst of both ideologies: the blowhard bluster of Trumpian capitalism with the âoeI, the thinking elite, know better than you, dirt diggerâ of communism.

      • No, we prefer to party with morons who can't even spell - it's like being in an episode of "Jackass."
    • Fusion drives are actually quite a reasonable technological development to anticipate in the (relatively) near future. It's over-unity fusion we can't manage to crack. I also suspect we never will, and that only gravity can do it on a practical basis, but that's just an ignorant layman guess.

      As long as you're not worried about a net energy gain, and you just want what is basically a particle beam created by a poorly confined fusion reaction, a fusion drive appears doable and the math says it'll give you a

      • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @08:24AM (#55803951)
        But where do you get the energy to initiate the fusion in the first place? It's a similar issue as with open- vs. closed-cycle chemical engines. The energy to pump the propellant has to come from somewhere. Likewise, any practical interstellar fusion drive will necessarily have to have significant net electricity output to power itself. Otherwise it's just a slight boost to your initial energy source and you need yet another power source with nuclear-level of energy density, and we don't seem to know about any other. At best, you could make the argument that if, say, your fusion-products-to-electricity conversion is 10% efficient, then it might make still sense to use it as a thrust booster if you're only generating 4x your input, but there doesn't seem to be a significant jump from generating more energy than you put in to generating more electricity than you put in, unless your energy-to-electricity conversion rate for your fusion units is extremely bad, like 1% or so.

        and the math says it'll give you about twice the velocity of a nuclear pulse drive.

        Doesn't thermonuclear pulse drive already beat it?

        • Bussard Ramjet? It's total Science Fantasy, but if we can manage to make a fusion reactor that works, we might be able to design a ramscoop for interstellar hydrogen and a magnetic constriction to force a fusion reaction to use for propulsion.
          • Isn't than an entirely different issue? Unless you want to convert the kinetic energy of the particles into electricity. The problem here is how (while in interstellar space) do you provide the energy for ignition which is substantial. For pulsed reaction, you need to provide it for every pulse. In continuous reaction, perhaps you need it once a while, but that's the very definition of high net energy gain anyway and probably not what Baron_Yam had in mind when he spoke of "a poorly confined fusion reactio
            • You don't seem to know what a ramscoop is or how it works which isn't surprising. A ramscoop uses magnetic fields to funnel interstellar hydrogen into a magnetic constriction point, where the pressure causes fusion to occur. The fusion reaction gives you thrust and therefore acceleration. It's a self-sustaining reaction, although you need to be at or above a certain velocity for the system to work -- so you also need stored hydrogen to get you up to speed. The magnetic fields themselves shield you from inte
              • It looks pretty dubious from the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org]. The energy required to divert the protons is going to get pretty large, and proton-proton fusion is difficult. The article suggests the carbon-nitrogen-oxygen-emit alpha-carbon cycle instead, but if you have to accelerate the protons to ship speed there's going to be a top speed.

              • You don't seem to know what a ramscoop is or how it works which isn't surprising.

                It's not surprising, obviously, because nobody knows how it could possibly work.

                A ramscoop uses magnetic fields to funnel interstellar hydrogen into a magnetic constriction point, where the pressure causes fusion to occur.

                If only hydrogen were magnetic, right? And only fusion was this easy because otherwise we'd already have it. We can accelerate atoms but for some reasons fusion researchers are not inverting the process that you're proposing to ignite the fuel with. All the plans for scooping up interstellar hydrogen I've ever read only mentioned collecting it, handwaving the actual process very fervently.

    • Such a goal practically requires mastering nuclear fusion by that point in time.

      Not really. The current leading contender for interstellar missions is a thumbnail-sized chip attached to a nanometers-thick light sail, and propelling that using ground-based lasers. That requires a lot of new technology, but power generation isn't one of them.

      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        How do you get a signal back from a thumbnail sized chip? Even getting a signal across 4.4 light years from a full sized spaceship seems to be quite the challenge.

        • Like many other aspects of this scheme, that hasn't been worked out. One possibility that's been discussed is sending a train of these tiny spacecraft that relay the messages back in daisy chain fashion.

          • One possibility that's been discussed is sending a train of these tiny spacecraft that relay the messages back in daisy chain fashion.

            A chain, yes, but the spacecraft are all launched at the same time, at varying speeds. Or maybe even some of the closer ones are launched earlier, however the math works out. And the ones meant to stay close to home will be larger, and capable of longer-range communication. It's not just a bridge, it's a pyramid, in a way.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What planet are you on, where project Orion isn't already known to be fully capable of that right now!

      We have build nukes. we have build small tactical warhead nukes. We have build a large lead plate with a hole. We have build shock absorbers that hold skyscrapers. We have built large rockets. We have had robots land by themselves on another planet.

      It’s just a matter of combining those things in a very simple way. Simple math already tells us this will bring us to 10% speed of light. That’s not

  • Communications? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HuskyDog ( 143220 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @07:58AM (#55803883) Homepage
    Well one wishes them the best of luck, but it seems to me that going fast enough is only a tiny part of their problems and that getting any sort of useful communications back again is a least as big a challenge.

    Consider the New Horizons mission to Pluto. The spacecraft is large and has a big high gain antenna. Also, it's power source hasn't been sitting around for 44 years. Never the less, data returns to earth at a few hundred bits per second.

    Now consider Alpha Centauri. My quick calculations suggest that it is about 7000 times as far away (can someone confirm that?). Applying the inverse square law gives us a received power level - assuming the same transmit power and antennas - which is 77 dB (49000000 times) lower. Now, I am not saying that it can't be done, and I am sure that NASA have lots of very clever people, but as someone who has spend his career in radio and radar, finding an extra 77 dB is a very challenging requirement!
    • Re:Communications? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by HuskyDog ( 143220 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @08:04AM (#55803897) Homepage
      Replying to my own post. A few more minutes though suggests that perhaps optical communications might work. I don't know very much about that technology, but preventing the receiving telescope from being blinded by the light from the star would clearly be a big issue to solve. Perhaps one could choose a wavelength where the star is relatively dark?

      Aligning the transmitter sounds tricky, but presumably you could use the same optics to track the sun (which is presumably quite bright when viewed from Alpha Centauri).
      • Perhaps one could choose a wavelength where the star is relatively dark?

        Are you thinking about absorption lines? That might work... But you probably need to prefer accuracy, i.e., get a tight-enough beam and aim it well enough. That should largely mitigate the transmission power issues, but might also necessitate the use of particular types of lasers with very coherent beams.

      • OP, you're original post is still right with optical communication as well. Part of the problem lies within the fact that we don't know how much unseen light blocking dust is between here and there or other unfortunate large planet size non-radiating objects that we can't see. Something that lower frequency radio waves would not succumb to so easily.

        My off the cuff guess is that you'd need to build a massive spaceship the size of an aircraft carrier if not more to generate the required power to transmit wit

      • There are bands in the EM spectrum that are relatively quiet that could be used.
        However the real challenge here would be keeping an interstellar probe on course. There's no way at our current level of technology that we could predict and account for any and all gravitational forces between here and there, so you can't just send it on trajectory and expect it to get there. The probe will have to be autonomous to large degree, and capable of deciding on it's own course corrections, sighting on fixed points l
    • Well, we're still able to communicate with the Voyager spacecraft and the signal from them is on the order of 10^-16 watts. [nasa.gov]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Send a constant stream of boosters in the intermediate years, even one a day is less than 15000 of them

    • I think communications for such a mission would require a pretty significant portion of the mass budget on the craft. It would also end up being a significant portion of the mission infrastructure cost. I'd think Arecibo-like telescopes in LaGrange orbits and likely the far side of the Moon for the "ground" element and a massive reflector on the craft itself.

      It might also be possible to launch a series of probes that can act as power boosting relays for each other. The first probe would have a lot of the sc

    • We've made some interesting discoveries concerning quantum entanglement, perhaps that could be leveraged to provide a communication? Or am I totally misunderstanding how quantum entanglement works?
      • Or am I totally misunderstanding how quantum entanglement works?

        Probably, yes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        • Damn. Without something like that, an interstellar probe is more or less pointless, given our socio-political climate at any given time. Even if they managed to get a probe launched and it gets there, in 100 years politics may have de-funded the whole thing and no one would be here to receive any signals or data sent back. :-( Hell, the way things are going right now, in 100 years there might not be a civilization here to receive it. :-(
      • am I totally misunderstanding how quantum entanglement works

        Probably. The return leg of an entangled system would be able to pass the data back at effectively infinite speed, one bit at a time. But each of those bits would have to be created at the source as an entangled pair, then one half of each entangled pair pair would have to be physically shipped from source to destination (at a speed capped by c, and probably a lot lower), before the bit is used. The bits cannot be re-used (measurement disentangles

    • Consider simple retrans outposts. Problem solved. They can double as mile markers and refueling stations.

      • Go revise the "logistics" section of any of your large scale exploration expeditions of the 20th century. Going up the FuckingBig Face of FuckingBig Mountain, with cooking fuel, food and oxygen cylinders as your logistical necessities. Or crossing the FuckingBig White Plain of Antarctica, with fuel and food being the logistics constraints.

        The logistic pyramid you describe is not simple. Many people have died as they have broken down. Just because it's not rocket science, doesn't mean that it's a piece of p

  • I mean the tech certainly doesn't exist now.

    But, with the advent of practical quantum computing, I would hope a lot of the math involved would become possible, unlocking more than just fusion.

    • Quantum computers, just like cold fusion, are a mere 10 years away. And have been for the past 50 years or so.

      • by z3alot ( 1999894 )
        Then again, AI which could beat humans at Go were 10 years away last year :)
        • Speaking as a Go player for over 30 years, while we had watched rapid advances over the last decade, leading to AI systems that could reliably make a 1-kyu or Shodan player work for their points, they were making progress at one or two points per year.

          Last year's progress was more like 15 or 20 points. Which was a hell of a surprise. A hell of a surprise.

      • Cold fusion has never been less than the square root of minus one years away, forward, backwards or sideways.

        Fusion, on the other hand, has been an established fact for around 13 billion years. That we don't know how to do it using less than around 10^30 kilogrammes of hydrogen is our technological problem, not an existential problem for fusion. Hail the excited state of carbon-12!

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @08:16AM (#55803935)

    The goal is to send a probe to Alpha Centauri, some 4.3 light years away. NASA is working on technology to allow a spacecraft to reach 10% of the speed of light, which might allow them to reach Alpha Centauri in as soon as 44 years.

    First, warp drives do not exist (yet). You cannot instantly jump to 10% the speed of light and spend 44 years coasting to Alpha Centauri. To travel 4.3 light years with a constantly accelerating technology would require you to hit 20% the speed of light, not 10%. If you constantly accelerate up to 10% the speed of light by the time you reach the destination, then it'll take you 87 years to traverse 4.367 light years, not 44 years.

    Second, you don't want to be accelerating the entire trip. Otherwise once you reach the destination, you're traveling way too fast for the trip to be of any use. Assuming the Alpha Centauri system is about the same size as our solar system, a probe reaching it at 20% the speed of light would pass through the entire system in a little over a day. It's stupid to travel 44 years just to have one day of science gathering. To be useful, you need to accelerate to the halfway point, the decelerate to the destination.

    This means the trip of 44 years would require hitting 20% the speed of light by the halfway point - it would need twice the acceleration of a mission which hit 20% at the destination. So combined with the 10% vs 20% speed of light error, you actually need to develop a technology with 4x the acceleration of a mission which would arrive at Alpha Centuari at 10% the speed of light.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What would make it impossible to speed up to 10 (or 20% for that matter) before being halfway? Why can't it hit 10% speed of light at 1% of the route and run out of energy to accelerate more?

    • by Zarhan ( 415465 )

      Alastair Reynolds has a concept in Chasm City about a spaceship that has your more typical propulsion systems for minor adjustments, but they have two blocks of antimatter stored in a magnetic containment. They burn the first half as they are leaving Solar system, and then use the second half to decelerate at the end.

      Now, since we can only generate antimatter a few atoms at a time - tops - the schedule is probably optimistic for such an approach. However, this is just to point our that there are alternative

      • Now, since we can only generate antimatter a few atoms at a time - tops

        We don't generate antimatter a few atoms at a time, we generate it a few sub-atomic particles at a time. Which are relatively easy to handle since they have electrical charges.

        Then you react (say) anti-protons and anti-electrons to create an atom of anti-hydrogen. Which is great - one step forward. And terrible - you throw away your main "handle" for controlling the movement of the newly minted atoms, which are now electrically neutral.

  • I'm holding out some hope that laser propelled microsatellites are feasible. If you fired a stream of them you could piggy back broadcasts between them back to earth, greatly reducing the distance each would need to transmit to get back home. You wouldn't need to slow down either, with a steady stream of small disposable craft.
  • Unless the probe is able to withstand one hell of an acceleration outbound and isn't going to be in the Alpha Centauri system more than a few days.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, I think that is the plan... assuming 'one hell' = several thousand G's.

      We have to accelerate that sucker fast, while it is close by. Any propulsion onboard the craft is too heavy, so all acceleration is 'ground based' - ie push the craft along with lasers.

      Pluto is ~5 light hours away. Seems like we'd have trouble accelerating anything much further out than that with earth / ground based systems. So you need to hit 1/10C in 5 hours... which is effectively 'instantaneous' compared to the 44 yr coast t

  • And then they'll turn around because it's about time to brake for the next 50 years?

    • That is what I was wondering. Here on Earth we've got a lot of tight measurements of orbits and tech to accellerate the satellite.

      However, once in Alpha Centari we're pretty much flying blind. There is going to be what, a 4-5 year lag between inputs? Would we even be able to send enough fuel to decellerate from 10% of lightspeed, and have anything left over to maneuver in system to gather data?
      • The nice thing about acceleration by solar sail is the same equipment will decelerate you if your target is another star.

        The problem is you need a massive sail and a complete probe with an astonishingly low average density. As in, "You're not sending a useful payload" low. Certainly not a computer to handle navigation at the destination, nor instrumentation to detect interesting things, nor laser coms back to Earth.

  • by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @11:29AM (#55804337)

    Santa travels at close to the speed of light and uses existing technology. Seems like that is the place to start. It does narrow the launch window as he is busy one day a year.

  • by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @11:59AM (#55804465) Homepage

    Accelerating any significant mass to .1c may be practically impossible. Perhaps the least unlikely approach, given our continuing miniaturization progress, is a spacecraft that weighs micrograms. Laser acceleration would seem to be an option, but the problem there is deceleration at the destination, and transmission of data back to Earth. What we really need is something super-light capable of using solar power to both accelerate and decelerate to a sizeable fraction of c, and then the transmission problem can be solved by having it make a return trip using the destination star for power.

    The ultimate unrealistic extreme of this approach in sci-fi would be the sophons from Liu Cixin's The Three-Body Problem, which if I recall have the mass of one proton but unfold into useful spacecraft upon arrival.

    • The mass of one proton? Why would it need to unfold? Is it more structurally sound for travel in deep space? Or is it more "aerodynamic"?

      Something with so little mass will be equivalent to a spider web. Space debris in the destination system would tear it to shreds. And would we be able to hit whatever web like substance results from this distance?

      On the plus side, if we could build a "quantum spaceship" the size of one proton, it could survive entirely on solar power.
      • by Pembers ( 250842 )

        The mass of one proton? Why would it need to unfold?

        There was some handwaving about how space has more than three dimensions, but the extra ones are very small. (See string theory.) For the purposes of the story, subatomic particles exist mostly in the extra dimensions. The aliens took a proton and unfolded it out of the extra dimensions to make a spherical shell. (It was bigger than their planet...) They then inscribed circuitry on the shell to make an incredibly powerful computer, folded the shell back into a proton and sent it off to Earth. Quite why the

        • Sounds like the circuitry added minimal mass to its shell, given its immense size. In addition, most of its circuitry was likely stored in extra-dimensionally. I am curious as to how the physics are supposed to work across these dimensions. How can something with so much extra mass connected to it be movable on this "side"?
          • by Pembers ( 250842 )

            I don't recall whether it was explained in any more detail. I think you were meant to be impressed that the aliens could do it at all :-) Perhaps, as you say, the mass of the circuitry is small in comparison with the mass of the proton. Or perhaps mass or gravity doesn't exist or doesn't count in the extra dimensions. I wondered if the proton already contained a lot of structure, so that the unfolded shell wasn't simply a uniform surface. That is, maybe the aliens could've made the circuitry by rearranging

      • I wouldn't be too sure about space debris being a problem. Space dust is quite diffuse and a microscopic probe means there's much less surface area to get hit.

    • Ten percent of the speed of light is plenty fast enough for many purposes. Project Orion (nuclear bombs for thrust) was thought to possibly be able to get to that speed with a large rocket.

  • This is the account given by the New Scientist article:

    The impetus came from a 2016 US funding bill telling NASA to study interstellar travel that could reach at least 10 per cent of the speed of light by 2069.

    “It’s very nebulous,” says Anthony Freeman at JPL, who presented the mission concept at the 2017 American Geophysical Union conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, on 12 December.

    In other words NASA was directed in a funding bill to study interstellar travel, with the launch date and performance mandated in the legislation! And NASA's response to this requirement imposed by lawmakers is to offer a "very nebulous" study.

    Nothing to see here, just a beleaguered agency trying to address a ridiculous idea from a space nutter lawmaker.

    • You do realize that all they are doing is looking at Stephen Hawking's plan to send small probes to Alpha Centauri using solar sails given a huge boost by lasers.

      It is a stupid idea but for different reasons. A small electronic payload will go by the system at 0.10c. If we're lucky we'll get a picture that we can call Great {Whatever Colour} Dot. Of course that's assuming our imaging technology works at 0.10c. Then we have no way sending images back but maybe someone can turn the sail into an antenna with s

  • Depressing actually. Hell my children might see it get there. I have no faith that the singularity would go beyond the wealthy. The poor will be forced to die.

  • Maybe we can make it two centuries in a row!
  • Matthew McConaughey will be dead by then.

  • So now the U.S. want to win Freeciv? Without even putting people on Martian soil?

    I wish best of luck for you.

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