Tuesday, April 26, 2016

To Alpha Centauri in just 20 years?

Sounds good.  Ultra small spacecraft, one big silicon chip containing camera, radioactive thermal electric generator, comm and nav systems, to weigh a couple of grams.  A light sail one meter square.  A 100 Gigawatt laser plays on the light sail for 10 minutes and accelerates the micro probe to 20% of the speed of light.  That will get it the four light years to Alpha Centauri in 20 years.  Then it radios back what the camera's see. 
   One sticky point, how does a micro probe, weighing only grams, have enough transmitter power to drive a radio signal back to earth? 
   Idea comes from internet investor Yuri Milner.  He is making grants to fund research.

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