Space Telescopes at 550 AU can image exoplanet surfaces down to 1 kilometer resolution

Space Telescopes placed at the gravitational lens points of 550 AU can image exoplanet surfaces down to 1 kilometer resolution. This would be like 13000 X 13000 pixel images of the earth. 169 megapixels images.

Mason Peck talks about the Breakthrough Starshot project.

When we achieve good interstellar travel (20% of lightspeed with good unmanned acceleration for laser pushed sails) then we get various spinoffs.
* go the moon in 6 seconds (unmanned laser nanosats)
* go to Mars in one hour
* Travel to the Gravitational lens point (550 AU or 550 times the earth to the sun distance) in two weeks

Very thin materials for 1 gram chipsat sails could make them 4 meter by 4 meters. They would thin sheets of electronics and sensors. They could survive several impacts. Also, by sending 1000 chipsats (repeatedly launching mass produced sails, one a day for three years) then statistical several should survive to reach the destination.

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9 comments

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1

The math is unrealistic and grossly simplistic. Yes, a spacecraft passing Earth at 20% of the speed of light could reach the moon in 6 seconds (actually 6.5 seconds). But that's with a running start, not from taking off the surface or even from LEO.

Obviously a human couldn't survive multiple G's of acceleration for very long, but even unmanned spacecraft has limits. For a short trip like from the Earth to the moon you would never get to top speed. Even to Mars, most of the time would be spent in acceleration and deceleration, not cruising along at 20% c.

2

Laser power solar sail for Mars is a bit of an overkill. Cheap reusable rocket boosters will do.

3

How long would it take to even send a spacecraft out to 550 AU? What kind of propulsion system would be best to do that in the minimum amount of time? Even Voyager hasn't reached that far.

4

If they were somehow able to get to 20% of the speed of light, it would take ~16 days.

5

Well Voyager is about 15 billion kilometers out after 40 or so years. This is over 100 billion kilometers...

6

Yeah, but Voyager was only using a gravitational slingshot and not nuclear-powered ion propulsion, for example.

7

Then why did you mention it as a benchmark? I was agreeing with you- yea, it's really far

8

A 1 to10 kg package will probably take a few weeks to Mars with laser sail propulsion and will need another laser field on Mars to decelerate the object. But such packages could be send literally every minute or so and thus provide relyable and prompt supply of the Mars colony.

9

Na, this was zero news..Nothing new, just speculation..