NASA Relativistic Interstellar Laser Launcher: We could do it NOW, for the cost of the NASA Climate Budget

Watts Up With That?

Figure 9 from "A Roadmap to Interstellar Flight" Figure 9 from “A Roadmap to Interstellar Flight”

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

An American scientist has made a remarkable conceptual breakthrough, a design for a non nuclear relativistic launcher, capable of accelerating thousands of deep space probes per year to 0.25C; fast enough to reach the nearest stars in 15 years. The system is extremely scalable – you could start with a small, low cost proof of concept launcher, and work up to bigger devices, capable of launching substantial probes into interstellar space. The system also has a practical alternative use – the full size version is powerful enough to deflect dangerous asteroids into safer orbits. The design uses mostly off the shelf industrial laser and optical technology.

The abstract of the study;

In the nearly 60 years of spaceflight we have accomplished wonderful feats of exploration and shown the incredible spirit of the human drive to explore and…

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