How long would it take to reach Planet 9, if we ever find it?

Nov 25, 2019
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"I am confident that in the far future, humans will be able to visit Planet Nine," potentially even as they make their way to other stars, Hein said.

If the planet turns out that (1) It actually exists and (2) It is a captured rouge planet from some other star system, then we would be VERY motivated to study it in detail. But sending people? Who would want to spend 20 years in a space capsule getting there and then 20 years on the return trip?

The first probes would be unmanned and at best would be launched on to 2050s and arrive in the 2070s. You would not even seriously think about a manned mission until you got the data in the 2070s and found the planet to be truely exceptional. By that time AI will be the best choice for the "crew".

AI tech will be much more advanced 50 years from now and it can be continuously updated while it flies to Planet-9 so when it gets there in 2070 it will be a 2070 vintage AI.

This "fast" timeline assumes nuclear rockets

As AI and robotics advance, there is less reason to send people to space, except as tourists. You can't automate tourism.
 
"However, a Planet Nine probe could go as directly as possible straight to the mysterious planet, allowing it to pick up more speed and travel much further in the same amount of time."


Going directly straight to the planet allows for a shorter route, it has nothing to do with picking up more speed. Without slingshots assists, all speed must come from burning rocket fuel.

How do such errors creep into space related articles written by marine biologists?
 
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Nov 25, 2019
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"However, a Planet Nine probe could go as directly as possible straight to the mysterious planet, allowing it to pick up more speed and travel much further in the same amount of time."


Going directly straight to the planet allows for a shorter route, it has nothing to do with picking up more speed. Without slingshots assists, all speed must come from burning rocket fuel.

How do such errors creep into space related articles written by marine biologists?
I noticed this but did not see it as an error, but rather a simplification. I think the author correctly said that Voyager's current speed is optimized for a muti-planet flyby and not for the extended interstellar mission it is now doing. The "direct" route could very well be a gravity assist but direct after the Jupiter assist.

In any case, this mission would have to wait for nuclear rockets or something like that. Or maybe you use a massive chemical rocket with SpaceX Starship modified for a one-way trip. I can imagine "Ship" with only the 3 vacuum engines, no heat shield, flaps, grid fins, or header tanks. It would be launched and then refueled in LEO. Something like the Lunar version.

We will get decent enough data from one of the space telescopes, Web, Hubble or Roman
 
"go as directly as possible straight to the mysterious planet, allowing it to pick up more speed"

This is a false statement.

That wasn't the statement. you cut it off before the punctuation. the full sentence is

However, a Planet Nine probe could go as directly as possible straight to the mysterious planet, allowing it to pick up more speed and travel much further in the same amount of time.

And your point has less weight when you quote it like this:

…go as directly as possible straight to the mysterious planet, allowing it to pick up more speed… in the same amount of time.

I understand where the confusion comes from, though. you read it as "(allowing it to pick up more speed) and (travel much further in the same amount of time.)", but this would be redundant. It was probably intended to be read as "allowing it to (pick up more speed) and (travel much further) in the same amount of time." to rephrase it "allowing It to accelerate, and arrive, sooner".

You're still kinda right, though. /gen



Researchers suspect Planet Nine is out there because around a dozen objects beyond the orbit of Neptune, move as if a large object is tugging on them.

I thought this turned out to be a dateset bias. Am I misremembering? please tell me I'm misremembering, because I want to believe that I'll get to see the first pictures of a planet.
 
I understand that if it were to pick up speed it would get there in less time. I don't care if it is redundant. This second part of the sentence was irrelevant to my point thus I did not cite it.

My point is that when it goes in a straight line it never gains speed except when its engine is thrusting. The only way it can gain speed is by slingshot maneuvers, and in order to engage in one of them it must bend its trajectory. There is no such thing as a straight line slingshot maneuver.
 
Mar 3, 2020
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I understand that if it were to pick up speed it would get there in less time. I don't care if it is redundant. This second part of the sentence was irrelevant to my point thus I did not cite it.

My point is that when it goes in a straight line it never gains speed except when its engine is thrusting. The only way it can gain speed is by slingshot maneuvers, and in order to engage in one of them it must bend its trajectory. There is no such thing as a straight line slingshot maneuver.
It can gain speed in a straight line if using a solar sail or pulsed laser; other than just engine thrust.
 
I understand that if it were to pick up speed it would get there in less time. I don't care if it is redundant. This second part of the sentence was irrelevant to my point thus I did not cite it.

My point is that when it goes in a straight line it never gains speed except when its engine is thrusting. The only way it can gain speed is by slingshot maneuvers, and in order to engage in one of them it must bend its trajectory. There is no such thing as a straight line slingshot maneuver.

What I'm trying to say is that the full statement isn't redundant. It seems redundant when read "(allowing it to pick up more speed) and (travel much further in the same amount of time.)", but it isn't when read "allowing it to (pick up more speed and travel much further) in the same amount of time.".

The first interpretation conveys the fallacy you pointed out, but the second one doesn't. It doesn't seem to be about the top speed, but the time of acceleration and total mission time (which is the topic of the article).

The first interpretation claims that going in a straight line somehow accelerates the spacecraft. The second one claims that using flybys to get to the same speed will take more time, or that it takes so much time that it's not worth the extra speed.

Since the first one's less relevant, redundant, and false, I think the latter is the intended interpretation.
 
All I care about is someone thinks tossing a object out of the solar system, without flybys, somehow results in going faster. You go slower as you go out there, not faster. If the craft had a solar sail, that would be a different story.