A number of proposed methods of rapid (V>0.1c) interstellar travel are discussed, including pulsed fusion and antimatter powered rockets, laser pushed lightsails and interstellar ramjets. Lower velocity worldships are also briefly considered. The scale of the undertaking, from both a technological and an economic perspective, is such that it is unlikely to be realised for several centuries. However, the great increase in astronomical knowledge that will result from a programme of interstellar exploration means that astronomers have a vested interest in the dream becoming a reality.
Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- September 1990
- interstellar travel;
- interstellar propulsion