When will the first person leave the solar system?
After a thousand years. At least that much time will be required for mankind to get to the nearest star of Proxima Centauri using the current technologies and methods. And yet, since astronomers have discovered that near this star there can be at least one inhabited planet, among scientists, as never before, there is increased enthusiasm for ideas about interstellar travel.
“This is a very tantalizing topic. Now that we know that there is a planet near the star, we can be more creative in our thoughts. You can think about a variety of options: send interstellar probes there or develop a special type of spacecraft that will allow you to personally look at this planet, “commented Guillem Anglada-Escude, a lead researcher and one of the discoverers of the new exoplanet.
Still, 4.2 light years dividing us and the Centaurus Proxima are simply unachievable for current space researchers. It will take time to find the right solution and cope with this problem. The popular scientific Internet portal Futurism decided to learn from its readers about when, in their opinion, the first person can leave the solar system.
The answers show that not soon. The options that received the largest number of votes are the 2100s and later. So counted about 35 percent of respondents.
One of them, Chalz Honbostel, gave some explanation of his choice:
“To expect the beginning of human studies of Mars should not be before 2025-2030. Most likely, people will not be able to reach the orbits of Neptune and Pluto by the end of this century, regardless of what kinds of new and exotic engine technology will be discovered. “
Honbostel is right that many countries and private companies are developing their ideas and projects on the human development of Mars for the next 10-15 years. He is also right in the fact that many researchers are working on the creation of new technologies that will allow our spacecraft to fly faster.
What do experts say?
Some enthusiasts are optimistic about our future opportunities in interstellar travel, stating that if we podnatimisya right now, we will be able to create technologies that will allow us to get to the Centaurus Proxima by 2100.
Others, such as Marcus Young, an expert at the US Air Force Research Laboratory, see such opportunities vaguer. Back at the Joint Propulsion Conference in 2008, Young stated that his team had not yet discovered any suitable option for interstellar travel.
“There are a lot of ideas, with an initial look at which you can say: hey, and it can work. But, after carrying out some research, you quickly come to the understanding that there really will not be anything to work on, “Young said at the conference.
Nevertheless, Young also added that scientists should continue their work and seek solutions to issues and problems facing the wall before the possibility of interstellar flights. And, fortunately, such work does not stop. There have already been some developments in projects that will eventually help us to leave the solar system, including those where it is proposed to use thermonuclear rocket engines. However, the radiation background on the ship, in this case, will be too toxic to transport people.
We can also use solar sails, giving the devices on their base additional acceleration due to powerful laser sources. This approach is actively discussed in the program Breakthrough Starshot, whose task is to send a small unmanned probe to the Centaurus system.
Even if we find a way to accelerate the spacecraft to 10 or even 20 percent of the speed of light, we will still face one very important problem – how to protect the body of this device from the ingress of cosmic particles. In addition, it will be necessary to find a reliable solution that will allow to slow down the device upon arrival to the Centauri system, which, incidentally, was pointed out by the founder of SpaceX, Iron Mask, in an interview with the western edition of Aeon. In his opinion, interstellar travel is indeed possible, but at this stage of our development, it is simply unattainable.
“If we want to go to other star systems one day, we need to focus on the development of laser propulsion technologies, which, I believe, will help us become a multi-planetary civilization. This is the next step in our development, “Musk said in an interview.
And if he is right, then the space enthusiasts have a reason to hope, because the first colony on Mars can appear in a few decades.