With a new engine, the entire solar system can be crossed in 5 years
NASA has awarded a grant to develop a radical propulsion concept that
could theoretically send a heavy spacecraft to the edge of the Solar
System in less than five years. The concept, called ‘pellet-beam’
propulsion, is based on shooting a stream of tiny particles at a
spacecraft to accelerate it to high speeds, reports sciencealert.com.
idea was inspired by the Breakthrough Starshot initiative, which aims
to send a light-sail probe to the nearest star system, Proxima Centauri,
in 20 years. However, the pellet-beam concept is designed to move much
larger payloads, such as one-ton spacecraft that could carry scientific
instruments or even humans.
The concept involves two spacecraft:
one that orbits Earth and one that travels to interstellar space. The
Earth-orbiting spacecraft would use lasers to heat up and accelerate
microscopic pellets made of solid material.
The pellets would
reach speeds of up to 120 km/s (75 miles/s) and hit a sail or a magnet
on the interstellar spacecraft, giving it a boost of momentum.
to Artur Davoyan, an aerospace engineer at the University of
California, Los Angeles, and the lead researcher behind the proposal,
the pellet-beam propulsion could enable fast exploration of the Solar
System and beyond.
He estimates that with this system, outer
planets could be reached in less than a year, 100 astronomical units
(AU) – the distance from Earth to the Sun – in about three years, and
the solar gravity lens at 500 AU – a region where light from distant
objects is magnified by the Sun’s gravity – in about 15 years.
comparison, it took the Voyager 1 probe 35 years to cross into
interstellar space in 2012, at about 122 AU from the Sun. The
pellet-beam concept could potentially reach that distance in less than
The concept is still in its early stages of development and faces
many challenges, such as ensuring the accuracy and stability of the
pellet beam, minimizing the mass and power requirements of the system,
and protecting the spacecraft from collisions with interstellar dust.
Davoyan and his team plan to use computer simulations and laboratory experiments to test and refine their idea.
successful, the pellet-beam propulsion could open up new possibilities
for interstellar exploration and discovery. As Davoyan said, “We want to
start creating a map of this unknown region between our Sun and the
Alien space debris stuck in Earth’s orbit, researchers say
Recently, a group of experts from Harvard University, led by physics
professor Avi Loeb, announced the possible presence of alien space
debris in Earth’s orbit, reports the Daily Star.
space research expert Professor Loeb is confident that the discovery of
such “interstellar objects could help expand our knowledge of possible
alien civilizations and technologies. A team of scientists is conducting
research to confirm that some of the objects in our orbit may be
connected to other star systems.
During an interview with Live
Science, Professor Loeb explained that these objects could enter the
solar system from interstellar space, defying Jupiter’s gravitational
pull and occupying limited orbits around the sun.
Some of them may
have technological origins similar to the probes sent by mankind into
interstellar space, such as Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, Pioneer 10 and 11
and New Horizons.
despite these interesting assumptions, Professor Loeb did not specify
what specific objects he was talking about. In his research report, he
notes that there could be “a significant number” of potentially
detectable objects in Earth’s orbit.
To confirm their assumptions,
the team of scientists uses computer simulations and the Vera Rubin
Observatory (Chile) with a high-resolution camera of 3.2 billion pixels.
This will allow for regular observations of the Southern sky and the
possibility of detecting several captured objects about the size of a
It is assumed that these interstellar objects passed through the
boundaries of the solar system and may carry unique information about
other civilizations and their technologies. If we could confirm the
origin of these objects, the mysteries that open before us, this would
be a real breakthrough in space exploration.
expresses hope that the new research will not only help expand our
knowledge of extraterrestrial technologies, but may also lead to the
discovery of new alien civilizations . Answers to such questions can be
of global significance and influence our understanding of the place of
mankind in the Universe.
while there are still many questions and assumptions, the study by
Professor Loeb and his team opens a new chapter in space exploration.
Each new discovery can be the key to deciphering the mysteries of the
cosmos and the possibility of encountering alien life forms.
Betelgeuse is acting strange again
Betelgeuse, a red giant on the brink of death, continues to show
unusual behavior. After the Great Blackout, which occurred in late 2019
and early 2020, the star became unusually bright. It is now the seventh
brightest star in the sky, while it normally ranks tenth. This has led
to speculation that Betelgeuse is preparing to explode in a
spectacularly large supernova.
However, scientists believe it’s too early to tell, and it’s likely
that this behavior is due to ongoing fluctuations after the Great
Blackout of 2019, and the star will return to normal within a decade.
Betelgeuse is one of the most interesting stars in the sky. It is
about 700 light-years from Earth and is a red giant in the last stage of
its life. It is also an unusual star for a red giant because it was
previously a monster blue-white O-type star, the most massive class of
Betelgeuse has changed its spectral type because it has almost
exhausted its hydrogen reserves. It now burns helium into carbon and
oxygen and has expanded to a gigantic size: about 764 times the size of
the Sun and about 16.5 to 19 times its mass.
Eventually it will run out of fuel to burn, become a supernova, eject
its outer material, and its core will collapse into a neutron star.
Before the Great Blackout, Betelgeuse also had periodic fluctuations
in brightness. The longest of these cycles is about 5.9 years and the
other is 400 days. But it seems that the Great Blackout caused changes
in these oscillations.
A new paper by astrophysicist Morgan McLeod of the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has shown that the 400-day
cycle appears to have been halved. This pulsational cycle is probably
caused by expansion and contraction within the star. According to
simulations carried out by MacLeod and his colleagues, the convective
flow inside Betelgeuse may have risen and become material that separates
from the star.
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