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A comment on “The Far Future of Exoplanet Direct Characterization”: the case for interstellar space probes

By Ian Crawford


Following on from ideas presented in a recent paper by Schneider et al. on “The Far Future of Exoplanet Direct Characterization,” I argue that they have exaggerated the technical obstacles to performing such “direct characterization” by means of fast (order 0.1c) interstellar space probes. A brief summary of rapid interstellar spaceflight concepts that may be found in the literature is presented. I argue that the presence of interstellar dust grains, while certainly something that will need to be allowed for in interstellar vehicle design, is unlikely to be the kind of showstopper suggested by Schneider et al. Astrobiology as a discipline would be a major beneficiary of developing an interstellar spaceflight capability, albeit in the longer term, and I argue that astrobiologists should keep an open mind to the possibilities

Topics: es
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1089/ast.2010.0499
OAI identifier:
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