Jump to content
Unexplained Mysteries uses cookies. By using the site you consent to our use of cookies as per our Cookie Policy.
Close X
Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
UM-Bot

NASA working on plan to visit Proxima Centauri

24 posts in this topic

Recommended Posts

 
joc

Currently NASA has specified a tentative launch date of 2069, however the technology needed to achieve such a mission doesn't even exist yet, so this could very easily change.

Just clarifying by the bolded phrase what I have been saying in another Proxima B thread.  So, isn't planning a launch in 50 years just a little bit ridiculous? How about a plan to achieve 5% SOL by 2025?   Otherwise I think we are just twiddling our thumbs in a third grade reading circle.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NightScreams

NASA, such big plans for such a small yearly budget. in 1965 they had 4.31% of the federal budget. By 1976, it dropped to .76%. In 2015, it was less than .5% And they want to go where in 2069 again?  Sounds to me that it's more like coming up with plans to ensure that funding keeps coming in much like how scientists have to have good research ideas to keep their grants coming in.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Waspie_Dwarf
36 minutes ago, joc said:

So, isn't planning a launch in 50 years just a little bit ridiculous?

We have such short term, tiny ambitions these days. It is ridiculous that people think planning for 50 years time is a bad idea. In centuries past people would design cathedrals and temples they knew they (and generations to come) would never see completed. The "I want it now" attitude is what is destroying scientific progress, the planning to do things in five decades time is what will save it.

39 minutes ago, joc said:

How about a plan to achieve 5% SOL by 2025? 

Because this is about science, discovery and learning, not fantasy and wishful thinking. The article points out that the technology does not yet exist. It will take long term research and planning to achieve even 1% the speed of light. 5% the speed of light in seven years is not going to happen outside of the pages of a poor science fiction novel.

42 minutes ago, joc said:

Otherwise I think we are just twiddling our thumbs in a third grade reading circle.

And there is the short time attitude that is destroying us.

Science is not about short term gratification and entertainment, it is about discovery. That takes time. You may be twiddling your thumbs but the generations of scientists that may make this possible won't be. There will be many dead ends. There may be spectacular discoveries which are incidental, or even irrelevant to reaching Proxima, but if we don't try we will never achieve.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Skulduggery

Unmanned mission I hope! :P It would suck bad to spend that long on a spaceship and then find out Proxima Centauri isn't interesting whatsoever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Derek Willis
1 hour ago, Waspie_Dwarf said:

We have such short term, tiny ambitions these days. It is ridiculous that people think planning for 50 years time is a bad idea. In centuries past people would design cathedrals and temples they knew they (and generations to come) would never see completed. The "I want it now" attitude is what is destroying scientific progress, the planning to do things in five decades time is what will save it.

Because this is about science, discovery and learning, not fantasy and wishful thinking. The article points out that the technology does not yet exist. It will take long term research and planning to achieve even 1% the speed of light. 5% the speed of light in seven years is not going to happen outside of the pages of a poor science fiction novel.

And there is the short time attitude that is destroying us.

Science is not about short term gratification and entertainment, it is about discovery. That takes time. You may be twiddling your thumbs but the generations of scientists that may make this possible won't be. There will be many dead ends. There may be spectacular discoveries which are incidental, or even irrelevant to reaching Proxima, but if we don't try we will never achieve.

I know this may sound like an extreme case of the point you are making, but during the two World Wars men and women made sacrifices knowing that they would unlikely see the benefits of their sacrifice. They were planning for a long term they would never see. But they did so for future generations. I totally agree with you that "short termism" - probably caused by the roughly five year political cycle of most democracies - is destroying us. Going to the Moon in the 1960's was a ten year project - "... before this decade is out", as Kennedy said. The world benefited massively from the technologies developed for the Apollo program. Politicians today make generalized statements about going back to the Moon or to Mars. If flights to Mars occur in the 2030's similar benefits would flow. And the generations following the launch of a probe to a star at the end of this century would also benefit from the technologies developed. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
_KB_

well Stephen Hawking did have a good idea about how to do it which could be achieved in the projected time but i highly doubt that NASA can pull this off by 2069, seems more like a publicity stunt than an actual project

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jon the frog

We need to do deep space exploration. The research in AI will give us system soon that will be able to adjust trajectory and do good decision for the path and flyby in real time out there without input. We would have to wait for the incoming data. Short term bureaucratic trimester like way of thinking is destroying our climate and health. We need to think long term.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
joc
4 hours ago, Waspie_Dwarf said:

We have such short term, tiny ambitions these days. It is ridiculous that people think planning for 50 years time is a bad idea. In centuries past people would design cathedrals and temples they knew they (and generations to come) would never see completed. The "I want it now" attitude is what is destroying scientific progress, the planning to do things in five decades time is what will save it.

Because this is about science, discovery and learning, not fantasy and wishful thinking. The article points out that the technology does not yet exist. It will take long term research and planning to achieve even 1% the speed of light. 5% the speed of light in seven years is not going to happen outside of the pages of a poor science fiction novel.

And there is the short time attitude that is destroying us.

Science is not about short term gratification and entertainment, it is about discovery. That takes time. You may be twiddling your thumbs but the generations of scientists that may make this possible won't be. There will be many dead ends. There may be spectacular discoveries which are incidental, or even irrelevant to reaching Proxima, but if we don't try we will never achieve.

I don't think of attitude really as short term or long term.  Only in terms of can we do it and if we can...how.  If it takes 50 years to get there...it takes 50 years...but I don't see as a problem really the idea of expediting it.  It seems that if we had a real idea of how to achieve any effectual speed, there would already be a plan to implement that...and I'm not seeing that, so if we don't have any idea of how to create such technology....are we just dreaming about it for a couple of decades until something tangible goes 'beep' in the brains of the scientific community?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Almighty Evan
6 hours ago, joc said:

Currently NASA has specified a tentative launch date of 2069, however the technology needed to achieve such a mission doesn't even exist yet, so this could very easily change.

Just clarifying by the bolded phrase what I have been saying in another Proxima B thread.  So, isn't planning a launch in 50 years just a little bit ridiculous? How about a plan to achieve 5% SOL by 2025?   Otherwise I think we are just twiddling our thumbs in a third grade reading circle.

 

Every ten years or so, we'll have reliable cold fusion in ten years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
joc
3 hours ago, Almighty Evan said:

Every ten years or so, we'll have reliable cold fusion in ten years.

We will see what we will see...if that is the case...where is the evidence of that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Skulduggery
6 hours ago, Jon the frog said:

We need to do deep space exploration. The research in AI will give us system soon that will be able to adjust trajectory and do good decision for the path and flyby in real time out there without input. We would have to wait for the incoming data. Short term bureaucratic trimester like way of thinking is destroying our climate and health. We need to think long term.

We definitely need to begin trying to get people off this planet. Earth won't be around forever. And, there WILL be casualties. Technology plus the whole money thing will delay it for a long time. It won't be in my lifetime unless some giant breakthrough happens.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jon the frog
1 hour ago, Skulduggery said:

We definitely need to begin trying to get people off this planet. Earth won't be around forever. And, there WILL be casualties. Technology plus the whole money thing will delay it for a long time. It won't be in my lifetime unless some giant breakthrough happens.

Sure we need to pass on the no risk attitude and back to the high stake high risk exploration and colonization. We are able to send stuff and people on Mars right now but to bring back people is another step and maybe a misstep to think about that. We just need to send peoples that know they will be martians and that's a one way ticket. Send them nuclear generators and living space before their arrival and they know they will need to survive or help to pave way for the next team. 

Yeah it's harsh but we have done it before here on earth and in the long term it have down some goods. Technology breakthrough will help farther up but we need to do some step right now.

Edited by Jon the frog
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Almighty Evan
3 hours ago, joc said:

We will see what we will see...if that is the case...where is the evidence of that?

Apologies, I was being facetious.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
taniwha
3 hours ago, Skulduggery said:

We definitely need to begin trying to get people off this planet. Earth won't be around forever. And, there WILL be casualties. Technology plus the whole money thing will delay it for a long time. It won't be in my lifetime unless some giant breakthrough happens.

Just take a deep breath and think positively...

Where would we leave to? Even though the universe is unbelievably huge there is no safe place to go...

When our time here is up then that's all there is to it.  

Dinosaurs didn't try to leave the Earth did they?  They died but there's no point shedding tears about them either.

But if you really are that distressed then maybe a better idea is to send pods, hundreds upon hundreds of them, loaded with DNA of humans, plants and animals to the 8 sectors of the universe, accompanied of course by artificially intelligent technicians so life can be reconstituted once a habitable planet is finally detected.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
geraldnewfie

add on more years then 2069, by then we will have some stupid celebrity as president for the usa, some war hungry leaders over resources, so money will be spent showing off how much firepower we all have and men and woman wasting their lifes thinking they are protecting their country but in reality they are fighting to make the country money, NASA and private companies need a huge boost but needs the money and will billions spend on pretend war this mission will never happen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Skulduggery
1 hour ago, taniwha said:

Just take a deep breath and think positively...

Where would we leave to? Even though the universe is unbelievably huge there is no safe place to go...

When our time here is up then that's all there is to it.  

Dinosaurs didn't try to leave the Earth did they?  They died but there's no point shedding tears about them either.

But if you really are that distressed then maybe a better idea is to send pods, hundreds upon hundreds of them, loaded with DNA of humans, plants and animals to the 8 sectors of the universe, accompanied of course by artificially intelligent technicians so life can be reconstituted once a habitable planet is finally detected.

I'd like to think I'm taking an optimistic approach. We didn't come this far to only come this far. Next logical step is to see how far we can push it. And, if it doesn't work out in the long run, it doesn't. But, expanding horizons isn't a bad thing to attempt, however long it takes.

Edited by Skulduggery
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tatetopa
15 hours ago, Waspie_Dwarf said:

We have such short term, tiny ambitions these days. It is ridiculous that people think planning for 50 years time is a bad idea.

The guy at the local nursery said the best time to plant a fruit tree is 20 years ago.  The next best time is now.  We could start with what we have.  We could send out a modest probe every 5-10 years.  Maybe in a generation or two the latest technology will produce something that will catch up and pass all of those old probes, but then again, maybe not.  Start now even with a modest effort, we will learn something.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
taniwha
4 hours ago, Skulduggery said:

I'd like to think I'm taking an optimistic approach. We didn't come this far to only come this far. Next logical step is to see how far we can push it. And, if it doesn't work out in the long run, it doesn't. But, expanding horizons isn't a bad thing to attempt, however long it takes.

I just don't sense the same urgency that you seem to....

10 hours ago, Skulduggery said:

We definitely need to begin trying to get people off this planet. Earth won't be around forever. And, there WILL be casualties. Technology plus the whole money thing will delay it for a long time. It won't be in my lifetime unless some giant breakthrough happens.

So what on Earth are you talking about in the above mentioned? :mellow:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Torchwood

There doesnt need to be a sense of urgency for getting off the planet and putting our eggs in some other baskets for the attempt to be a good idea.   I bet the Dinosaurs didn't have a sense of urgency until after the rock hit, and the mountains exploded....waiting till there is a sense of urgency probably means you've missed your chance. 

I believe that statistically we are overdue a large rock all of our own...and even if we get one that doesn't wipe us out, but it will probably be, er... inconvenient. 

 

I see the issue less as being about short-termism and more about commitment issues.  The reason we went to the moon wasnt because of foresightedness- it was simply that Kennedy committed the US to the task regardless of cost or obstacles. - this kind of over commitment tends to triumph over the bean counters who want to see if its worth the effort, and won't bother if theres no obvious profit that outweighs the cost or the risk.  

So whats holding us back really is capitalism. ;)

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Skulduggery
1 hour ago, taniwha said:

I just don't sense the same urgency that you seem to....

So what on Earth are you talking about in the above mentioned? :mellow:

That's the spirit!!!!!

 

Uh, I mean over several thousand years from now, as colonization into space, interstellar or closer to home, begins to unfold, technology will drive things a large part of the way. Ingenuity, you know? That requires lots of firsts and experimentation. 500-billion lemmings can't be wrong. A percentage of people brazen enough to knife it into space on experimental technology won't make it. This is working smarter, not harder. Working harder would be way more dire.

Edited by Skulduggery

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sundew

If I remember correctly, it takes about 8 minutes for light from the sun to reach Earth. So at 10% of light speed you would have a mere 80 minutes to travel that same distance, not a lot of time to do any research. Suppose any habitable planet's orbit is not near the trajectory of the space craft, at those speeds would you have enough time to correct for an intercept course? 

I guess what I am wondering is there any way to slow the ship down to any reasonable speed or to maneuver it towards a planet and remain long enough to do a detailed survey. There may be, but at 10% light speed you might have to start breaking at the equivalent distance to our Pluto. I have no answers here, I'm just curious. 

As far as what space travel might hold in the future, that is an unknown. We may find that with enough computing power, A.I. can design a faster propulsion system or even a new method of propulsion in 50 years. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
schroedingerscat

Propulsion systems which have been studied, tested, or are operational, which MIGHT be used for interstellar flight:

Ion propulsion - Isp up to 100,000 seconds - exhaust velocity up to 1,000,000 m/s - thrust < 5 Newtons

Tested since the late 1950's, operated on numerous orbital missions, and on the Dawn mission to the asteroid belt.  A mass ratio of 2.72:1 would allow a vehicle with ion drive to achieve a final velocity equal to its exhaust velocity, i.e., up to 0.03 C.  Cubing the amount of propellant, a mass ratio of 20:1, would get the vehicle to 1% C.

Magneto plasma dynamic (MPD) propulsion - Isp up to 100,000 seconds - exhaust velocity up to 1,000,000 m/s - thrust < 200 Newtons

Tested since the late 1950's, never flown operationally.  Higher thrust would make the system more attractive for manned missions, with terminal velocities similar to ion systems.

Pulsed nuclear fission - Isp up to 1,000,000 seconds - exhaust velocity up to 10,000,000 m/s - thrust > big

Tested by Freeman Dyson and crew as part of project Orion in early to mid 1960's.  Test vehicle called 'Putt-Putt' was flown using conventional explosives, along with extensive materials testing.  Project was terminated due to the nuclear test ban treaty.  A mass ratio of 2.72:1 could yield a final velocity of 3% C, and a mass ratio of 20:1 a final velocity of 10% C... that 45 year trip to Proxima might be possible.

Light sails - theoretical Isp up to 30,000,000 seconds - thrust just slightly greater than 0.

Originally investigated by Robert Forward in 1960, with recent orbital tests.  Extremely low thrust makes this system appear less attractive for manned missions.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom the Photon
On 21/12/2017 at 4:02 AM, taniwha said:

But if you really are that distressed then maybe a better idea is to send pods, hundreds upon hundreds of them, loaded with DNA of humans, plants and animals to the 8 sectors of the universe, accompanied of course by artificially intelligent technicians so life can be reconstituted once a habitable planet is finally detected.

The human diaspora will populate the galaxy.  I see this as inevitable, so long as we don't destroy this planet first.  The Milky Way is 100 000 light years across.  Even with painfully slow space travel it will only take millions of years to search every nook and cranny.  Will we meet intelligent alien species?  Statistically that's likely, and let's hope we can live alongside them in better harmony that we manage within our species.  

Then the REALLY big step - the rest of the Universe!  It won't be humans who attempt that - we'll have evolved into something quite different by then.

I hope scientists solve the problems of ageing and death, so I can be around to witness some of the astonishing developments the future will bring.  Especially Christmas tree lights that untangle themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.