Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Wednesday, December 27, 2017

If you thought NASA was playing the long game with its plan to put people on Mars in the 2030s, you haven't seen anything yet. New Scientist has learned that a team at the administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has started planning a mission that would send a spacecraft to the Alpha Centauri system in... 2069. Yes, that's 52 years away, and timed around the 100th anniversary of Apollo 11's trip to the Moon. The probe would look for signs of life around the potentially habitable exoplanet Proxima b, giving humanity a much better look than it could get with observation from home.

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Send the Robinsons. But this time make sure Mr. Smith don't go.

#1 | Posted by patron at 2017-12-27 07:03 PM | Reply | Funny: 2

I know I am excited. And impressed.

Someone actually thinks we'll keep it together long enough to launch the thing.

#2 | Posted by donnerboy at 2017-12-27 07:22 PM | Reply

Gosh that's so soon.

Oh wait it's not.

#3 | Posted by Tor at 2017-12-27 08:55 PM | Reply

--a team at the administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has started planning a mission that would send a spacecraft to the Alpha Centauri system

Apparently they have a lot of free time, at taxpayers' expense.

#4 | Posted by nullifidian at 2017-12-27 09:09 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

"Apparently they have a lot of free time, at taxpayers' expense."

Just following President Trump's lead.

#5 | Posted by TrueBlue at 2017-12-27 09:49 PM | Reply

Apparently they have a lot of free time, at taxpayers' expense.

#4 | POSTED BY NULLIFIDIAN AT 2017-12-27 09:09 PM | REPLY: Enemy of Human Progress

#6 | Posted by DirkStruan at 2017-12-27 10:18 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

If this plan goes according to schedule and launches in 2069, I'll be as aged as some of the eldest ReTorters in our web-community.
Damn.

#7 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2017-12-27 10:24 PM | Reply

Heh heh heh. He said, "probe."

#8 | Posted by madscientist at 2017-12-27 10:28 PM | Reply

I don't usually agree with Nulli but on this I absolutely do. Planning an expedition in 2069? Go get a real job.

#9 | Posted by danni at 2017-12-28 08:34 AM | Reply

Just following President Trump's lead.

#5 | POSTED BY TRUEBLUE

They spend one third of their time at work playing golf too?

Nice gig.

#10 | Posted by donnerboy at 2017-12-28 10:33 AM | Reply

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I don't usually agree with Nulli but on this I absolutely do. Planning an expedition in 2069? Go get a real job.

#9 | POSTED BY DANNI AT 2017-12-28 08:34 AM | REPLY

The Space shuttle planning began in the mid 1950's. The original purpose was to capture soviet satellites and bring them back to America for dissection. The plans for the space shuttle were presented to Vice President Spiro Agnew in 1968. The first unmanned flight was in 1977 and the first manned flight in 1982.

32 years from inception to first flight to merely hit high orbit and you think 42 years to Andromeda is a long time?

We are talking about designing a new propulsion system. Nothing we currently have is viable for interstellar travel. I think 42 years is pretty optimistic

#11 | Posted by hatter5183 at 2017-12-28 11:55 AM | Reply

Great. I'll be 100 years old.

#12 | Posted by boaz at 2017-12-28 12:06 PM | Reply

"Alpha Centauri (α Centauri, abbreviated Alpha Cen, α Cen) is the closest star system to the Solar System, being 4.37 light-years (1.34 pc) from the Sun."

#13 | Posted by danni at 2017-12-28 12:09 PM | Reply

The fastest manmade object is the Juno spacecraft travelling at just over 25 miles per second. Pretty fast, right? At that speed it would take 32,584 years to get to Andromeda. If we launched a craft tomorrow it would need to travel at 19,396 mph to get to Andromeda by 2069.

The ratio between our fastest and where we need to be is about the same as the ratio between ordinary walking speed and the SR-71 at maximum speed.

#14 | Posted by hatter5183 at 2017-12-28 01:45 PM | Reply

I don't usually agree with Nulli...

You should know by now that never works out anymore.

#15 | Posted by donnerboy at 2017-12-28 01:57 PM | Reply

you think 42 years to Andromeda is a long time?

42 years to LAUNCH.

With current technology it will still take 10s of thousands of years to get there.

#16 | Posted by donnerboy at 2017-12-28 02:02 PM | Reply

and I thought we were talking about alpha centauri and Proxima b.

#17 | Posted by donnerboy at 2017-12-28 02:04 PM | Reply

Firstly, stop confusing the star Alpha Centauri with the galaxy Andromeda.

Secondly, regardless of whether we aim for Alpha Centauri or Andromeda it still will tens of thousands of years to get there with current technology.

Thirdly, faster than light speed is an absolute impossibility beyond the subatomic level so it is never to be like in all those stupid sci fi movies we all love.

#18 | Posted by moder8 at 2017-12-28 02:24 PM | Reply

Good summary here:

www.upi.com

The biggest problems we face in considering such a mission are:

How can we accelerate any probe to the speeds necessary (10% of the speed of light, per article)?

How can we build a probe to work properly during such a long voyage?

How can we power a probe for such a long voyage?

How can a probe send back the necessary information once it arrives?

Any such probe will have to have very little mass and also be able to make many decisions (AI) for itself to come close to achieving a successful mission. I am glad they are in the early stages of planning now. A lot of technological innovations will have to occur before this particular mission becomes anything more than a pipe dream.

#19 | Posted by AKat at 2017-12-28 03:19 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

^ High powered moon based laser aimed at a solar sail on a dime sized space probe.

#20 | Posted by dibblda at 2017-12-28 03:34 PM | Reply

Hey Dibblda, I missed your query back on December 18 due to a bout of late night merry-making. I posted the answer in the Nooner a few days ago, but here it is again for your assessment:
__________________

I just went through some of my old posts, and I realized I did a little harmless, blue-moon drunkposting back on December 18th. It looks like some questions were put to me that I didn't answer in my well-earned inebriated, once-a-year haze:

1. Dibblda--To answer your shibboleth questions: ĤΨ=EΨ is the Schrödinger Equation, or more precisely, the Time-Dependent Schrödinger Equation. Ĥ is the Hamiltonian operator. As a bonus, the Hamiltonian is the sum of all the potential and kinetic energies of all the particles in a system. It was one of the first equations introduced in the second semester of Physical Chemistry. I had a very good Professor for that course, even though he took his PhD from Texas A&M. (A little UT vs A&M joke there).


#21 | Posted by madscientist at 2017-12-28 04:28 PM | Reply

#21 MadScientist: (A little UT vs A&M joke there).

UT = University of Tennessee?

LOL! Joking! I worked with a computer programmer once who graduated from U. of Tenn and when I'd introduce him I'd say, "he graduated from University of Texas..." He'd look mad at me, then I'd correct myself. He was always a huge Volunteer fan...

#22 | Posted by AKat at 2017-12-28 04:41 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

Thirdly, faster than light speed is an absolute impossibility beyond the subatomic level so it is never to be like in all those stupid sci fi movies we all love.

#18 | Posted by moder8

So send subatomic particles then.

Didn't I already show you how foolish and short sighted it was to say something is technologically impossible anymore?

#23 | Posted by donnerboy at 2017-12-28 04:54 PM | Reply

For Moder8

10 "impossibilities" conquered by science:

www.newscientist.com

#24 | Posted by donnerboy at 2017-12-28 05:01 PM | Reply

Madscientist, lol, nice. You got it.

I never read the nooner, I mostly lurk other posts and occasionally add my two cents.

I'm all University of California schools.

#25 | Posted by dibblda at 2017-12-28 05:24 PM | Reply

Per Einstein, Everything is always moving at the speed of light when you add up the vectors of the 4 dimensions. If something comes to an absolute stop on the X,Y,and Z vectors then it is by definition still moving at the speed of light IN THE TIME AXIS.

The hard thing to wrap your head around is that our solar system is cruising along with the galaxy and orbiting it's center at a remarkably high speed. Alpha Centauri is actually "behind" us as it were so if we launch a probe there we are actually braking relative to the galaxy (braking is acceleration).

Kind of fun to think about.

#26 | Posted by hatter5183 at 2017-12-29 10:51 AM | Reply

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