Launch | Precisely determining orbital position of exoplanet

In order to bring a nanocraft to within 1AU of Proxima b or another planet in Alpha Centauri, accurate locations of all the bodies near the path of flight would be required. A number of existing and future surveys of targets for Starshot will provide additional information prior to launches. In addition, the early missions would help inform the optimal positioning of later ones.

Efforts are underway to obtain a better understanding of the ephemerides – the orbital positions at specific times – of objects that would affect a nanocraft’s the trajectory to Alpha Centauri. This includes an extensive effort with the largest telescopes in the southern hemisphere, including Very Large Telescopes and Gemini. Space missions, such as the GAIA Astronomical Observatory, are likely to increase knowledge of the astrometric positions of the objects within the Alpha Centauri system.

Apr 12, 2016 22:05 Daniel Desai Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

One approach to obtaining detailed imagery of the Alpha Centauri (or any other) system would be to use the Starshot concept to travel to the Sun's gravitational lens point. At about 600 AU, the journey would only take about 17 days for nanocraft travelling at 0.2c.

Aug 01, 2016 14:33 Breakthrough Initiatives Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

Apr 12, 2016 22:05 Daniel Desai Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives
One approach to obtaining detailed imagery of the Alpha Centauri (or any other) system would be to use the Starshot concept to travel to the Sun's gravitational lens point. At about 600 AU, the journey would only take about 17 days for nanocraft travelling at 0.2c.

"The imaging capability of nanocraft is not adequate for imaging other solar system. Distance to alpha Centauri is 272,000 AU, so ground or space telescopes are much better than nanosats at hundreds or thousands of EU.
The idea of incremental prototyping with shorter missions is however the in baseline of StarShot. "

– Prof. Sasha Buchman, Breakthrough Initiatives

Aug 29, 2016 20:45 Joshua West Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

Launching two Probes in slightly off target trajectories could give you a triangulation, then launch the third when the data hits and is analyzed. Treating earth as one probe and launching the second somewhat-orthogonal to the trajectory might work better. With this method, you can keep launching missions in different directions utilizing the one before it as a means of triangulation for the next. It might be beneficial for the incremental nature of launches you are describing.

Sep 29, 2016 16:38 jrwoods57@gmail.com Posted on: Centauri Dreams

Given the recent discovery, would it be possible to do a flyby of Proxima? Would there be micro-thrusters to slightly adjust trajectory to get better planetary data and possibly slingshot to Alpha Centauri? We must project that there will be much better planet data by the time Starshot is launched.

Nov 05, 2016 03:31 Breakthrough Initiatives Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

RE:
"Aug 29, 2016 20:45Joshua WestPosted on: Breakthrough Initiatives
Launching two Probes in slightly off target trajectories could give you a triangulation, then launch the third when the data hits and is analyzed. Treating earth as one probe and launching the second somewhat-orthogonal to the trajectory might work better. With this method, you can keep launching missions in different directions utilizing the one before it as a means of triangulation for the next. It might be beneficial for the incremental nature of launches you are describing."

Answer:
This is a very good idea. We think that diversity of arrival time and location would be a positive idea and provide much more information.

- Avi Loeb, Breakthrough Starshot

Nov 05, 2016 03:32 Breakthrough Initiatives Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

RE:
"Sep 29, 2016 16:38jrwoods57@gmail.comPosted on: Centauri Dreams
Given the recent discovery, would it be possible to do a flyby of Proxima? Would there be micro-thrusters to slightly adjust trajectory to get better planetary data and possibly slingshot to Alpha Centauri? We must project that there will be much better planet data by the time Starshot is launched."

Answer:
The two systems are very far apart (~15,000 AU). We are thinking of possibly sending probes to each system.

- Avi Loeb, Breakthrough Starshot

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