Author Topic: Breakthrough Starshot  (Read 33114 times)

Offline R7

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #20 on: 04/12/2016 05:03 PM »
Q&A just touched the long distance communication. Apparently the plan is to use small laser on the SC pointing back to Earth for a few kilobits/s rate.
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Offline kch

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #21 on: 04/12/2016 05:16 PM »
Quote
Focusing the light beam on the lightsail to accelerate individual nanocrafts to the target speed within minutes
Those little probes are going to get a pretty swift kick. Even if it take a half hour to get up to speed they will be accelerating at almost 25km/s2.

... and a lot quicker than that at the 2 minutes they actually stated:

100GW for two minutes. That's some laser array!

:)

Offline R7

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #22 on: 04/12/2016 05:29 PM »
They mentioned 60000g acceleration (probably peak initial).
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Offline Star One

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #23 on: 04/12/2016 05:38 PM »
The reason there is a duplicate thread is because this topic only just seems appropriate for this forum & it was agreed to put it in the advanced concepts section.

Offline Bubbinski

Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #24 on: 04/12/2016 05:51 PM »
Wow, if this actually flies....could they test a prototype by doing a flyby of Planet 9 (if it is really out there and located)? 

If Hawking, Milner, et al actually pull this off April 12 will forever be remembered and not just as "Yuri's Night" or the STS-1 launch
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline Star One

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #25 on: 04/12/2016 05:54 PM »
Wow, if this actually flies....could they test a prototype by doing a flyby of Planet 9 (if it is really out there and located)? 

If Hawking, Milner, et al actually pull this off April 12 will forever be remembered and not just as "Yuri's Night" or the STS-1 launch

I like your thinking about a test to planet nine.

Offline wxmeddler

Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #26 on: 04/12/2016 06:37 PM »
Depending on where they put the laser, wouldn't they only be able to send probes to that hemisphere only? Seems like you would need two systems, one for the northern sky and one for the southern sky.

Offline Star One

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #27 on: 04/12/2016 06:55 PM »
Unfortunately I doubt I will be around to see the results with twenty plus years to develop the technology and then the travel time to get there.

Offline baldusi

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #28 on: 04/12/2016 08:40 PM »
If I read the press release correctly, you could use the big laser and an electronically opacable lightsail for comms. If you can paint with a powerful enough laser the sail, and if you can switch the albedo electronically, you can get information back with a big telescope. This enables you to just need the big stuff on the Earth.

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Offline Phil Stooke

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #29 on: 04/12/2016 08:48 PM »
The idea to test this with a flyby of Planet 9 (if it turns out to exist) is brilliant.  That could actually work.

For the rest of it, I wouldn't put the idea down, I would think of it as like the BIS 'Project Daedalus' interstellar probe: a very interesting idea, one which may spur further ideas and some technological advances (actually, it could be a lot better at that than Project Daedalus), but probably not going to get anywhere, at least in this form.   So, let the ideas flow, see what comes out of it, but don't hold your breath until launch.

Offline redliox

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #30 on: 04/12/2016 09:06 PM »
Hopefully something comes of this.  I've been skeptical about light sails, but they've been flown twice thanks to JAXA and the Planetary Society with both accomplishing what they set out to do, and it would be probably more feasible to build Starshot's laser system on the ground versus trying to cobble together a hefty ion propulsion system.  Considering how compact ordinary phone cameras have already gotten, it might be possible that a similar-sized device in 10 to 20 years could hold a decent mix of optics for ultraviolet to near-infrared imaging.  Obviously it won't be a Hubble, but perhaps useful enough if Starshot could somehow get close enough.

Aside from building the thing, we really need to find the targets Starshot would investigate.  Waiting to hear if the Pale Red Dot project learns anything about Proxima Centauri, otherwise I know there's supposed to be a handful of projects that have been watching Alpha for years now.
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Offline savuporo

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #31 on: 04/12/2016 09:12 PM »
So, let the ideas flow, see what comes out of it, but don't hold your breath until launch.
Yeah, i thought about holding my breath when Google Lunar X-Prize was announced.
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Offline Star One

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #32 on: 04/12/2016 09:27 PM »
On the face of it this looks a bit more achievable than some past schemes I've seen for this kind of thing, keeping the initial power source on the ground instantly makes more sense than the exotic suggestions of others.
« Last Edit: 04/12/2016 09:28 PM by Star One »

Offline Kaputnik

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #33 on: 04/12/2016 09:27 PM »
Even if say, they get past all the technical hurdles, like building the laser and the spacecraft. If you're laser accelerator pointing is off by 1*10-50 degrees you'll be trillions of miles off course. Plus, how the heck are you going to communicate with it, you'd need a dish that's enormous, not to mention the 4 year time lag. The camera will only have on the order of minutes to snap a picture before flying past.

I wonder if there would be any possibility of active steering by angling the sail slightly? I know that this is considered for conventional lightsails.
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Offline Star One

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #34 on: 04/12/2016 09:29 PM »
Even if say, they get past all the technical hurdles, like building the laser and the spacecraft. If you're laser accelerator pointing is off by 1*10-50 degrees you'll be trillions of miles off course. Plus, how the heck are you going to communicate with it, you'd need a dish that's enormous, not to mention the 4 year time lag. The camera will only have on the order of minutes to snap a picture before flying past.

I wonder if there would be any possibility of active steering by angling the sail slightly? I know that this is considered for conventional lightsails.
What at 20% the speed of light, seems unlikely.

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« Last Edit: 04/12/2016 09:51 PM by Star One »

Offline Remes

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #35 on: 04/12/2016 10:37 PM »
They could improve their system by not using satellite dishes for firing lasers.  :D

Rather then making a square sail it might be some conductively coated pieces which form a directional antenna for communication. Or some layers of si-atoms, forming a solar cell.

Cool challenging project. That's what engineers and the space community need.

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #36 on: 04/12/2016 10:50 PM »
I wonder how lasers of this power hitting a small target won't vaporize it.  If it doesn't reflect 99.999999999% of the light there will be an insane amount of energy absorbed into this tiny spacecraft.  I don't know of any material that can reflect that high a percent of the light hitting it.

Offline 1

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #37 on: 04/12/2016 10:53 PM »
I wonder how lasers of this power hitting a small target won't vaporize it.  If it doesn't reflect 99.999999999% of the light there will be an insane amount of energy absorbed into this tiny spacecraft.  I don't know of any material that can reflect that high a percent of the light hitting it.

On the plus side, now we have a really easy way of dealing with any space junk in orbit, and we could death-star the hell out of any incoming asteroids on a collision course with Earth, so I say build it!

Offline robertross

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #38 on: 04/12/2016 10:57 PM »
FYI: I believe the website has been hacked, so be careful:

www.breakthroughinitiative.org.

« Last Edit: 04/12/2016 10:57 PM by robertross »
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Offline Oberon_Command

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Re: Breakthrough Starshot
« Reply #39 on: 04/12/2016 10:59 PM »
I wonder how lasers of this power hitting a small target won't vaporize it.  If it doesn't reflect 99.999999999% of the light there will be an insane amount of energy absorbed into this tiny spacecraft.  I don't know of any material that can reflect that high a percent of the light hitting it.

Could they make the sail out of some kind of reflective ablative?
« Last Edit: 04/12/2016 10:59 PM by Oberon_Command »

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