Directed Energy Propulsion has made a lot of experimental progress

Philip Lubin, University of California, Santa Barbara, Directed Energy for Interstellar Study

Starting at 26 minutes of this video.

They are making progress with laser locking over kilometer distances.
They are making 2 gram starchip prototypes.
they are looking at making ultrathin starchips that would be a meter across but very lightweight.

Arxiv – A Roadmap to Interstellar Flight

Lubin’s designs would enable wafersats to reach 25% of lightspeed and a 100 ton spaceship to reach 1000 kilometers per second.

6 thoughts on “Directed Energy Propulsion has made a lot of experimental progress”

  1. The following talk on materials that reflect sunlight but emit infrared, so lox tanks etc. will stay cold was also interesting. Has anything been done on using a similar principle on earth for more modest levels of cooling. Ie: airconditioning & refrigeration in hot climates. Use some such material on a roof & get the roof temperature down to eg: 5 C while the air temperature is 30 C. Would that even be possible to do through the atmosphere?

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  2. The people colonizing other parts of the solar system might not like having such a weapon on the far side of the moon that can be aimed at them.

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  3. Seems ultimately feasible, I don’t see anything that violates the laws of physics. Planning to have the lasers Earth based seems dubious to me; Sure, easy access, but pushing that much energy up through the atmosphere without losing coherence isn’t going to be easy. You’d probably, from a technological standpoint, want to base this on the far side of the Moon, instead. (To preserve the “can’t be aimed at Earth” aspect.)

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