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Icarus Interstellar Blog

Project Dragonfly – Sail to the Stars

8 May 2015, 08:45 UTC
Project Dragonfly – Sail to the Stars
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Humanity has existed for over 200,000 years. It is only about 200 years since we entered the age of industrialization, and in the last 50 years, we have discovered ways of going to the stars [1]. However, the approaches conceived required spaceships the size of a tanker and massive space infrastructures. Project Dragonfly is the first design study for an interstellar mission based on a small, laser-propelled spacecraft. In the following, the background of Project Dragonfly and the rationale for the Project Dragonfly Design Competition and crowdfunding campaign are explained more.
Many previous approaches for going to the stars have depended on extremely large and heavy spacecraft, based on propulsion systems like nuclear fusion or antimatter. Existing concepts of fusion-propelled spacecraft are as heavy as skyscrapers. Accelerating all the fuel with the ship until it is exhausted is actually not a very efficient way to get to the stars. Project Dragonfly aims at a different approach: The basic idea is not new – it is, in fact, very old. For centuries, humans have travelled the seas using sailing ships. We also plan to use a sail. But a sail which is made of an extremely thin reflective surface. This sail ...

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