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Old 12-27-2017, 09:12 AM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Default 2069 α Cen mission! (links)

Hello All,

NASA is beginning preliminary work for a starprobe mission to the triple-star Alpha Centauri (α Cen) stellar system, which--if all goes according to plan--will be launched in 2069, the 100th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing mission. Here (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2069_A...entauri_mission and http://www.google.com/search?source...0.m iHJu2Lnu0g ) are links to articles about the Alpha Centauri starprobe mission, and:

While I am not holding my breath (because the mission requires as-yet undeveloped technologies, and because I will be long dead by then, even assuming that the funding it needs is made available), this pronouncement is still noteworthy, and the project is worthy of praise, for this reason:

Even informally proposing--as opposed to just studying--interstellar missions was unthinkable until quite recently, and any formal proposal would have attracted scorn and ridicule. All our lives, *real* interstellar spaceflight (the kind where another star and its planets are reached and explored within the lifetimes of those who dispatched the mission, *not* slow outer planet flyby probes that take millennia to coast that far, as long-dead derelicts) has been "centuries away," and now, quite suddenly (although much work remains to be done), that is no longer the case. Also:

Not only is the Breakthrough Starshot project (which is developing 0.2 c [20% light speed] laser-pushed lightsail probes to reach α Cen in ~20 years after launch) project underway (see: http://www.google.com/search?source...1.0.8o8klWl-PCs ), but even *solar sails* can, if they are built sturdily enough to handle "Sun-grazing" hyperbolic trajectories, can reach 0.12 c or more (see: http://www.google.com/search?ei=iqJ...1.0.cbzknCa822A and www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=1665 ). It looks like Arthur C. Clarke was right yet again, about even the most sanguine predictions often turning out to have been laughably conservative, and occurring far sooner than expected...
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