Researchers want to send bears on an interstellar mission

Researchers want to send bears on an interstellar mission

Using laser cannons, scientists want to send micro-organisms to extraterrestrial solar systems. The journey to Proxima Centauri can be completed in 20 years.

Interstellar space travel is still a long way off. But researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, want to test a new type of propulsion system – and send life to our nearest star.

The basic problem is that conventional rocket fuel is not enough to travel several light years. Instead, they use large laser cannons to send microbes such as bears and roundworms on an unknown journey. Animals It is known to be able to harden in very difficult situations.

– This is something that has never been done before, to send macroscopic objects at speeds close to the speed of light, says Philip Lubin, a professor at the University of Santa Barbara. Press release.

The idea is to build small probes, which are very lightweight but can carry equipment to collect data and send it back to Earth.

100 GW of power is required

Lupine estimates that the first vessels were the same size as a human hand and visually similar to a silicone wafer. Or a “starch” as the researchers call it.

The probes, called solar sails, are being carried out with the help of lasers on the Earth’s surface. This method is called DEEP-IN (Direct Energy Propulsion for Interstellar Exploration). Preliminary calculations show that it takes 100 GW of power per minute to ship a ship.

The technology has been discussed for a long time, and researchers at USBBC are already involved in the project Starlight, which aims to develop and test such a solution.

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– By working on this idea, you can discover many new uses. We’ll see what happens in the end, but I think it’s very exciting, said Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang. Recently to Ny Teknik When interviewed about Sun Sail.

If this method works in practice, it will take about 20 years to send a spacecraft to our nearest solar system, Proxima Centauri.

Read more: James Webb sees the first light of the universe

Can be used for trips to Mars

Philip Lubin envisions the same propulsion technology for future travel within our own solar system, but with lasers on Earth. Maybe even for manned Mars explorations, but the speed will definitely be much slower.

Researchers are currently developing a plan to develop a laser-based propulsion system with the help of grants from NASA and the Breakthrough Initiative. Their article on sending bears to other galaxies was published in the journal Science Law of Astronautics.

Scientists are urging those concerned about the introduction of extraterrestrial life to calm down. Vehicles can burn up or crash into a planet’s atmosphere.

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