Scouting the spectrum for interstellar travellers

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Scales of speed with respect to the speed of light in vacuum (logarithmic scale). The fastest man-made objects are in the range of velocities from 10−5c to 10−3c. Examples are the fastest manned ship, Apollo 10 on entry (NASA, 1969), the Galileo probe during its descent into Jupiter (NASA, 2003) and the solar probe Helios 2, with its velocity estimated at its periapsis at 0.29 Astronomical Units from the Sun (Freeman, 1998). For comparison, we have included the average speed of Earth during its orbit around the Sun (Cox, 2000) and the motion of the Solar System with respect to the cosmic microwave background frame (Hinshaw et al., 2009). The fastest natural objects, like hypervelocity star HE 0437-5439 (Brown et al., 2010) and neutron star RX J0822-4300 (Hui and Becker, 2006), move in the scale of 10−5c-−2c. We define a region of extraordinary propulsion (REP) for speeds which would point to an artificial object. The REP starts at the estimated speed for the nuclear propulsion Orion ship (Dyson, 1968), which could be built with present human technology.

Juan Carlos Garcia-Escartin, Pedro Chamorro-Posada
Advanced civilizations capable of interstellar travel, if they exist, are likely to have advanced propulsion methods. Spaceships moving at high speeds would leave a particular signature which could be detected from Earth. We propose a search based on the properties of light reflecting from objects travelling at relativistic speeds. Based on the same principles, we also propose a simple interstellar beacon with a solar sail….
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Written by physicsgg

March 25, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Posted in SPACE

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