Relativistic interstellar travel with guests on board- New Economy
The distance traveled by the probesVoyagerin 45 years condensed in a few days. This is one of the promises ofStarlight, a project born more than ten years ago with the aim of building spacecraft capable of reaching the stars closest to Earth in a very short time. The key to success is to leave the fuel tank on the ground, thanks to thePhotonic propulsion. Not only that, part of the project concerns the inclusion, in these spacecraft that can travel at 25 percent of the speed of light, of living beings able to sustain the journey in conditions of suspended animation. It seems like a sort of re-edition of the filmInterstellar? The project, especially with regard to the biological question, is discussed in aarticlerecently released onActa Astronautica. Media Inafinterviewed.
One of the limitations that has made it impossible to plan interstellar travel so far is technology: it is not possible, with the technology currently employed in space missions, to reach speeds that allow you to cross the boundaries of the Solar System and get to the nearest stars in a reasonable time. What is your idea to solve this problem?
"Our idea is to use photon propulsion, a new method in which high-intensity light is used to propel small spacecraft of the future at relativistic speeds."
How long have you been working on this project? And what goals have you achieved?
"We started the program in 2009 with initial exploratory funding from NASA and have since continued with additional contributions from a number of private foundations. We built a series of lab demonstrations focusing on the concept of building an extremely large-scale laser array that stays on Earth, the Moon or even orbit. We are starting with the development of the laser array on Earth to prove the concept. It will take decades of work to perfect the technology, but so far it is working extremely well. We have published about 60 technical articles about our program and the progress of the laboratory. On our website there are all our articles and updates».