Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Looking For Local Extraterrestrials

An interesting article suggesting methods of looking for extraterrestrials who might have arrived right in our neighborhood has been placed on line by astronomer Gregory Matloff, Adj. Professor of Physics and Astronomy at NYU.

One of the suggestions is that ETs might have arrived in normal space using laser-powered light sails. This method was suggested by Robert L. Forward, who published a short paper Ground-Based Lasers For Propulsion In Space in 1961.

Here is a description of the idea from Dr. Matloff's paper:

For decades or century duration interstellar voyages at speeds as high as 10% of the speed of light (0.1c), a favored propulsion system is the laser light sail. A solar-pumped laser power station is constructed in space and maneuvered into position between the Sun and the destination star. A laser beam from the power station impinges against the light sail of the starship – a highly reflective metal sheet with a thickness of nanometers or microns (Figure [below]). The pressure of the laser photons accelerates the spacecraft in the direction of the destination target star. Optimum performance seems limited because of the requirement for the power station to be “suspended” between Sun and starship very accurately for decades, but projection instead of both power station and probe on the same initial slow hyperbolic trajectory towards the target star may somewhat alleviate pointing problems.


(Laser Light sail)

Dr. Matloff does not give any hints on how we might have been able to see the light-sail craft propelled toward us.

However, in their 1974 classic The Mote in God's Eye, sf writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle give a description of how a space craft powered by laser cannon might look - a century before its arrival in the targeted system. From this one system, the Coalsack dark nebula (which is a real celestial object) looks like a hooded figure in profile, with a tiny star in the position of the eye.

Renner asked "How did the [Church of Him] get started?"
"Legend has it," Potter said and stopped. "Aye it may not all be legend. What the Himmists say is that one day the Face of God awoke... He opened His single Eye."
That would figure, if the Moties were actually using laser cannon to propel a light sail..."

Be sure to read The Re-Enchantment of the Solar System: A Proposed Search for Local ET’s, via Next Big Future.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/9/2013)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Sierra Space Inflatable LIFE Habitat Burst Pressure Test
'It was like being inside a balloon...' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1961.

Space-Based Solar Power A Priority - European Space Agency
'...vast man-made disk of metal set spinning about the sun to supply the Earth with power.'

Goldilocks Zones Found On The Moon
Hopefully, there are no Mynocks in shadowed lunar craters, chewing on the power cables of spacecraft...

Spaceships Should Last So Long
'THE SPACE VESSEL was traveling swiftly… For over five thousand years they had Voyaged on and on.’ - E.C. Tubb, 1955.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

LoadRunner Robot Works Alone, Or In A Group
'They marched in unison, seven of them...'

Sierra Space Inflatable LIFE Habitat Burst Pressure Test
'It was like being inside a balloon...'

Longest Immersed Tunnel Will Connect Denmark and Germany
'... iron tubes... the ends of the tubes were joined to each other...to preserve it from the action of the seawater.'

Alcohol-Sensing Cars - NTSB Catches Up With Philip K. Dick (1963)
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive....'

Solar-Powered Remote-Control Cockroaches!
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'

SolarBotanic Tree For Solar Energy - Would You Need A Forest, Or Just One?
'The slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector...'

Metaverse Hardware - Run And Flail Like A Maniac, Or Lie Quietly?
'Holodeck 4 was waiting to be programmed...'

Robot Food Delivery Coming To Campus Near You
'... he rewired the delivery robot so that it would serve him midnight snacks.'

Are Craiyon Images Puddinged, ala Philip K. Dick?
'I stood in line for half an hour for this, and it's just a blob!'

Hip'Safe Airbag For Seniors, From Helite
'Other airbags go off around her torso and pelvis...'

Soulaje Self-Administered Euthanasia Wearable Prototype
'A young man... advanced with nervous strides along the gravel path which leads to the bronze doors of the Lethal Chamber.'

Midjourney AI Creates 'Théâtre D'opéra Spatial', Wins Art Fair First Prize
'... we'll give him in his brain what he needs for creation.'

Mobot Robot Tests Smartphone Apps With Its Finger
'Rapidly, purposefully, the metallic fingers moved over the key-boards...'

Space-Based Solar Power A Priority - European Space Agency
'...vast man-made disk of metal set spinning about the sun to supply the Earth with power.'

Goldilocks Zones Found On The Moon
Hopefully, there are no Mynocks in shadowed lunar craters, chewing on the power cables of spacecraft...

Robotic Surgeons Outperform Human Surgeons
'...the objects moving about so gently and putting their instruments away were not living beings, but robots.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.