A comment on “The Far Future of Exoplanet Direct Characterization”: the case for interstellar space probes
Crawford, Ian (2010) A comment on “The Far Future of Exoplanet Direct Characterization”: the case for interstellar space probes. Astrobiology 10 (8), pp. 853-856. ISSN 1531-1074.
Following on from ideas presented in a recent paper by Schneider et al. on “The Far Future of Exoplanet Direct Characterization,” I argue that they have exaggerated the technical obstacles to performing such “direct characterization” by means of fast (order 0.1c) interstellar space probes. A brief summary of rapid interstellar spaceflight concepts that may be found in the literature is presented. I argue that the presence of interstellar dust grains, while certainly something that will need to be allowed for in interstellar vehicle design, is unlikely to be the kind of showstopper suggested by Schneider et al. Astrobiology as a discipline would be a major beneficiary of developing an interstellar spaceflight capability, albeit in the longer term, and I argue that astrobiologists should keep an open mind to the possibilities.
|Keyword(s) / Subject(s):||Far future missions, interstellar space travel|
|School:||Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences|
|Date Deposited:||22 Feb 2011 09:04|
|Last Modified:||08 Jun 2016 09:38|
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