A few questions about space travel

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vogon13

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Distance from proxima to alpha is not that far, but dog leg path is rather severe.<br /><br />Also, for an Orion Impulse craft, you will be well into decel phase, and constantly changing velocity during execution of mankind's first close stellar flyby seems a little too dicey for me.<br /><br />Lining up flyby distance, avoiding any debris near proxima, executing flyby, keeping the Orion mechanism working near end of mission . . .<br /><br /><br />too many risks. Send a probe and relay back to main Orion craft.<br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000"><strong>TPTB went to Dallas and all I got was Plucked !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#339966"><strong>So many people, so few recipes !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#0000ff"><strong>Let's clean up this stinkhole !!</strong></font> </p> </div>
 
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baulten

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@ Vogon:<br /><br />*nod* So Proxima is not at a position where a flyby would be reasonable. Launching a small probe at the proper time while en route to Alpha Centauri A (or B, whichever I decide would be a better target for the mission) would be a good plan, though, correct? I mean, since you've sent the mission that far anyway, might as well do some studying on the most common type of star in the galaxy, no? <img src="/images/icons/tongue.gif" /><br /><br />I'm also now trying to determine what types of scientific devices should be sent with if anyone has an opinion on that. Obviously some telescopes, cameras, etc., but anything out of the ordinary that I might overlook? <br /><br />Edit: And for slowing down, would the ship be rotated around, and the pulse propulsion mechanism restarted with the pusher plate the opposite direction?
 
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richalex

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Obviously, a magnetometer, and it would be nice to measure the gravitational fields of objects found in the system (though I suppose that a detailed gravitational study might be too ambitious for the first mission). Otherwise, spectral analysis from radio wave up through gamma rays would be useful.
 
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vogon13

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Yes, pusher plate will be oriented towards destination, and you would most likely have to shut down the drive to observe the target.<br /><br />For a full size interstellar Orion colony ship, scientific payload is not much of a problem, we would be sending just about every scientific device I can think of, and the crew could make just about any observation they wanted to.<br /><br /><br />With out a prior flyby, you are correct in not knowing if Alpha Centauri A or B is the better target. Fuel load of Orion craft should have enough reserve to allow close investigation of both stars. Their separation is <50 AUs, so our Orion ship should be able to explore both in just a few years.<br /><br />I am not opposed to exploring Proxima, but I do not feel endangering the main colonizing mission is warranted.<br /><br />In the eventuality the best planet to colonize of the 3 stars is orbitting Proxima, well . . . .<br /><br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000"><strong>TPTB went to Dallas and all I got was Plucked !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#339966"><strong>So many people, so few recipes !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#0000ff"><strong>Let's clean up this stinkhole !!</strong></font> </p> </div>
 
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baulten

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I wouldn't want to do a flyby of Proxima if it's out of the way. The probe would be a much prefered method in that case. On the note of Centauri A/B, the closest approach of the two is about 11 AU, so wouldn't it be possible to put a ship in orbit of either of them and accurately investigate both?<br /><br />And wouldn't Proxima be unfavorable for life, as it's a flare star? I'd think it would be safe to assume that both A and B would be a safer bet for life anyway. A precursor robotic probe mission would be able to prove this hypothesis, and probably preferable in the long run, no?
 
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qso1

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vogon13:<br />Distance from proxima to alpha is not that far, but dog leg path is rather severe.<br /><br />Me:<br />Especially at anything approaching SOL.<br /><br />vogon13:<br />Also, for an Orion Impulse craft, you will be well into decel phase, and constantly changing velocity during execution of mankind's first close stellar flyby seems a little too dicey for me. <br /><br />Me:<br />Exactly. Not only that, I don't think gravitational assist is of much use for craft going near light speeds anyway. If you can go SOL, why bother with gravity assist? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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Baulten:<br />On the note of Centauri A/B, the closest approach of the two is about 11 AU, so wouldn't it be possible to put a ship in orbit of either of them and accurately investigate both?<br /><br />Me:<br />Absolutely.<br /><br />Baulten:<br />And wouldn't Proxima be unfavorable for life, as it's a flare star? I'd think it would be safe to assume that both A and B would be a safer bet for life anyway. A precursor robotic probe mission would be able to prove this hypothesis, and probably preferable in the long run, no?<br /><br />Me:<br />I agree, I would think Proxima is not very favorable to life except maybe the extremophile kind. Unmanned probes would be useful and I suspect thats what will happen first. If there is a planet pretty close to being earthlike, I strongly suspect curious humans will eventually develop the ability to go there and at least visit. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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Heres a couple of links to get you goin:<br /><br />http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_(nuclear_propulsion)<br /><br />http://astronautix.com/lvs/oriative.htm<br /><br />http://astronautix.com/lvs/oritsink.htm<br /><br />Basically its a vehicle that uses successive nuclear explosions to push it along by means of a pusher plate between the vehicle and its bombs. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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