Fusion, Antimatter & The Space Drive - Charting a Path to the Stars

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K.F. Long (2009), JBIS, 62, 89-98

Refcode: 2009.62.89
Keywords: Interstellar flight, space drive, fusion rockets, antimatter propulsion

Human and robotic exploration of the solar system is under way with a return to the Moon and future landings on Mars determined to be near term goals. But the true vision for space exploration is interstellar travel to other stars and habitable worlds. This paper will discuss some of the historical propulsion concepts, which aim to achieve this stated mission. This includes fusion, antimatter, solar sail and more exotic concepts like the space drive. Historical design studies like the British Daedalus project have made progress towards defining the technical challenges and will be discussed. Research management techniques are discussed for appraising realistic and credible proposals for research. The launch of a new private venture to begin this process is highlighted. Supporting private ventures will be the way to bring imaginative theoretical proposals to reality in the long term and provide for conditions where the defined mission will become more attainable. The provision of vision, leadership and courage by international partners is seen as essential components in interstellar space exploration.

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