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July 08, 2010

Carnival of Space 161 - cost and affordability of interstellar probes and Youtube version of the Carnival

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Carnival of Space 161 is up at Habitation Intention

Centauri Dreams looked at the cost of an interstellar probe

Back in the late 1960s, Freeman Dyson went to work on the question of how much an interstellar probe might cost. Extrapolating from nuclear pulse propulsion and the state of the art in spacecraft design as then understood, Dyson arrived at an estimate of $100 billion to build the craft, which translates into roughly $650 billion today. Though stark, that figure is by no means as eye-popping as one of the estimates drawn up by the original Project Daedalus team: $100 trillion in 1978 dollars.

Richard Obousy has an updated analysis and compares the cost to future GDP.

The US economy becomes able to support a Dyson-class starship costing $650 billion by the year 2085; i.e., in that year, such a cost represents 1% of GDP based on a 2% growth rate per year. A Daedalus-style craft becomes feasible no earlier than 2340. In global terms, the Dyson starship could be built (assuming the global cooperation we at present do not have) within the next few years, whereas the Daedalus class craft would have to wait until 2268. If the GDP growth is 4% then the Daedalus becomes affordable in 2099.


Dana Andrews (Andrews Space) analyzed the cost of fusion missions powered by deuterium from the outer planets, coming up with a future cost of $15 million per mission. So radically lowering the costs with better designs for interstellar probes greatly accelerates affordability.


Chandra blog looks at the discovery of a Black hole slingshot.

Evidence for a recoiling black hole has been found using data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, XMM-Newton, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and several ground-based telescopes. A new paper reports that this black hole kickback was caused either by a slingshot effect produced in a triple black hole system, or from the effects of gravitational waves produced after two supermassive black holes merged a few million years earlier.


Weird Sciences considers faster than light travel and time travel

Video Version of the Carnival of Space 161


Here are my two submissions

Lawrence Livermore researchers are simulating viable deflections of asteroids using nuclear bombs.

Nuclear Fusion would be a huge enabling capability for space access. Even nuclear fusion systems that cannot be fit into a spaceship could still be useful. Diamond Methane Impact fusion would use a large linear collider to produce fusion. Commercial fusion could lower the cost of energy which would be useful or this system might provide something like a beamed power configuration for space propulsion

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