Comments (26)

  1. jrwoods57@gmail.com:

    Has the concept of a redundant sail been considered? If the initial light sail can withstand the intense initial laser acceleration, maybe it could be maintained long enough to confirm survival, velocity and direction of travel then discarded with a new sail folding out upon arrival to transmit back to Earth. Also. could the shape of the nanocraft (discussed above, I believe) be such that impacts would be at a high glancing angle.

  2. Nathan Bemis:

    If you streamline the whole craft for cruise phase, with the chip itself at the tail end, you'll only need impact protection at the leading nose of the craft unit. This will achieve minimal protective coating weight added to the craft and allow for preservation of the sail for other later purposes. Now that the area for this impact protection is minimized, You should be able to consider even thicker and stronger materials for the job.

  3. Breakthrough Initiatives:

    RE:
    "Sep 29, 2016 16:29jrwoods57@gmail.comPosted on: Centauri Dreams
    Has the concept of a redundant sail been considered? If the initial light sail can withstand the intense initial laser acceleration, maybe it could be maintained long enough to confirm survival, velocity and direction of travel then discarded with a new sail folding out upon arrival to transmit back to Earth. Also. could the shape of the nanocraft (discussed above, I believe) be such that impacts would be at a high glancing angle."

    Answer:
    These are all good ideas that need to be balanced against the mass requirements. It is not clear that one can achieve the mass goals with two sails.

    - Avi Loeb, Breakthrough Starshot

  4. Breakthrough Initiatives:

    RE:
    "Sep 29, 2016 22:48Nathan BemisPosted on: Breakthrough Initiatives
    If you streamline the whole craft for cruise phase, with the chip itself at the tail end, you'll only need impact protection at the leading nose of the craft unit. This will achieve minimal protective coating weight added to the craft and allow for preservation of the sail for other later purposes. Now that the area for this impact protection is minimized, You should be able to consider even thicker and stronger materials for the job."

    Answer:
    We consider this an excellent approach. We are also trying to optimize the protective material such that is may serve many purposes. Maybe there is a way to harvest energy for the erosion of this materials. You can read some related discussion at the recent paper, https://arxiv.org/pdf/1608.05284.pdf

    - Avi Loeb, Breakthrough Starshot

  5. Nikita Kiselov:

    Would it be possible to have an extremely strong magnet at the front of the craft?

    It would repel the positively charged protons and attract the negatively charged electrons. This avoids the impacts of the much heavier former particles, and additionally attracts the latter only. If these electrons impacted in a special area, it would create a current, and another current could be induced in coils by the passing by protons.

    The magnet would strongly affect the starchips electronics, and thus it is unclear how to install it while minimally affecting the area at its back. Additionally I am unsure whether it is possible to manufacture a magnet strong enough to alter the trajectory of particles at relativistic speeds.

    However, if these two challenges were solved, there should be less shielding requirements and an additional source of electricity, at possibly quite low mass costs.

    I must admit that I lack the knowledge to calculate the needed strength of the magnet and the feasibility of the whole idea, so it may very well turn out useless.


    This would be another idea in the direction already proposed earlier by Micheal Million:
    May 26, 2016 13:42 michael.million@sky.com posted:
    "If we applied a powerful positive charge to the rim or leading edge of an edge on sail it would discourage the more massive positive ions from hitting the sail, but attract the less massive electrons. Very high voltages can be created on sharp edges and therefore create high deflection forces."

  6. Breakthrough Initiatives:

    RE:
    "Nov 27, 2016 21:23 Nikita Kiselov Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives"

    Answer:
    Thank you for your help in this matter. The scheme for avoiding impacts along the path is very dependent on what one considers the makeup of the InterStellar Medium (ISM) is. If it is mostly dust and very few ions or subatomic particles, then charge control will be of little use. However, if the ISM is dominated by gas, protons and electrons then charge control and magnetic control maybe very useful. It seems we need to first make assumptions about the ISM then we can design an approach to conquer the hazard. It will be difficult to control the charge in deep space, however there is interesting work being performed at Stanford using LED along these lines. The following paper discusses the space experiment: https://arxiv.org/abs/1202.0585

    - Pete Klupar, Breakthrough Starshot

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