Monday, July 23, 2012

Interstellar space travel may may be possible using lasers and antimatter

While interstellar journeys have been explored by researchers, one type of mission has not received much attention, namely the interstellar rendezvous and return mission that could be accomplished on timescales comparable with a working scientist's career.

Such a mission would involve an initial boost phase followed by a coasting phase to the target star system. Next would be the deceleration and rendezvous phase, which would be followed by a period of scientific data gathering.

Finally, there would be a second boost phase, aimed at returning the spacecraft back to the solar system, and subsequent coasting and deceleration phases upon return to our solar system.

Such a mission would represent a precursor to a future manned interstellar mission; which in principle could safely return any astronauts back to Earth.

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