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Project Icarus: a review of local interstellar medium properties of relevance for space missions to the nearest stars

Crawford, Ian A. (2011) Project Icarus: a review of local interstellar medium properties of relevance for space missions to the nearest stars. Acta Astronautica 68 (7-8), pp. 691-699. ISSN 0094-5765.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actaastro.2010.10.016

Abstract

I review those properties of the interstellar medium within 15 light-years of the Sun, which will be relevant for the planning of future rapid (v >= 0.1 c) interstellar space missions to the nearest stars. As the detailed properties of the local interstellar medium (LISM) may only become apparent after interstellar probes have been able to make in situ measurements, the first such probes will have to be designed conservatively with respect to what can be learned about the LISM from the immediate environment of the Solar System. It follows that studies of interstellar vehicles should assume the lowest plausible density when considering braking devices, which rely on transferring momentum from the vehicle to the surrounding medium, but the highest plausible densities when considering possible damage caused by the impact of the vehicle with interstellar material. Some suggestions for working values of these parameters are provided. This paper is a submission of the Project Icarus Study Group.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2011 08:19
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:20
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/3606

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