[ExI] Brake lights

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sat Jan 15 10:49:37 UTC 2022

On Sat, 15 Jan 2022 at 10:10, Rafal Smigrodzki via extropy-chat
<extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> I keep thinking about how to decelerate a starship at the destination star system enough to allow orbital insertion. Obviously, the amount of energy needed to decelerate a payload will be almost identical to the energy needed for acceleration but deceleration is likely to be much harder than acceleration to achieve technically.
> Let's assume we want to move the smallest payload sufficient to start a colonization process at a destination star. This would be probably a few grams of self-replicating machinery (nanotech or highly modified biotechnology) capable of photosynthesis in an abiotic planetary environment, and capable of then bootstrapping radio antennas and the computational substrate to receive the colonist minds beamed from the origin star system.
> The most promising technology to accelerate this kind of payload is laser powered light-sail. One interesting implementation of this idea are small lasers powered by solar arrays that would coordinate to produce massive terawatt beams. These would not have a single origin but rather originate from a swarm distributed over the whole solar system. In this way the extreme acceleration of the payload could be sustained over a long stretch as the payload traverses the laser swarm and receives continuous boost from the swarm elements that are closest to it at the time. This would be much better than a single giant laser that could accelerate payload only for a shorter period of time.
> --
> Rafal Smigrodzki, MD-PhD
> Schuyler Biotech PLLC
> _______________________________________________

You are describing the ‘Breakthrough Starshot’ project.

This idea has just been reviewed (and the problems listed) by an

As with all space travel enthusiasts, he reaches the conclusion that
the problems are probably unsurmountable, but we should try anyway.

There is a big difference between solving problems in PowerPoint and
virtual reality and actually getting things to work in the harsh
environment of the real world.

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.


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