Communication | Pointing transmitter towards earth
Finding the Earth should be reasonably straightforward, given its proximity to the Sun, which would be bright from the vantage of Alpha Centauri. The on-board star tracker would also be useful, as would locking onto the Starshot laser system.
It may also be feasible to send commands and even reprogram the entire nanocraft via the Earth-based laser system. The angular diameter of a diffraction-limited beam, at a wavelength of 1 micron with a meter-class antenna, is on the order of 0.1 arcseconds. Pointing to this precision could be achieved by using the photon thrusters.
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- Courtney, D. G., Dandavino, S., and Shea, H. "Performance and Applications of Ionic Electrospray Micro-Propulsion Prototypes," AIAA SPACE 2015, Pasedena, CA (2015)
- Martel, F., Perna, L., and Lozano, P. "Miniature Ion Electrospray Thrusters and Performance Tests on CubeSats," Proceedings of the AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites (2012)