Showing posts from August, 2008

Interstellar Probe to the Centauri stars

From Centauri Dreams :

"A forty year flyby to the Centauri stars would be moving at something better than a tenth of lightspeed once it gets up to cruise. Even if exquisitely targeted, such a probe would operate within 1 AU of the target system (let’s say Centauri B) for something less than three hours. Ponder the challenge presented by collecting imagery and data from Centauri planets in such a scenario."

I’d think that could be addressed by using a large number of smaller probes and getting them strung out over a long line, about 30 light hours apart. Each one might spend only 3 hours in system - but the chain could spend days or months passing through. They’d each beam their results back to the next in the chain, and the last unit in the chain would have to be able to transmit it back to Earth. (Redundancy is also easy to build in - if one fails, the next in line could be close enough to still get the signal.

You might create a “chain of double-sided mirrored probes” and dir…