Water bears can fly to stars at near-light speed with a laser beam

(ORDO NEWS) — The possibility of traveling to other stars still remains only in the plane of science fiction, since interstellar distances are enormous – even light travels to the closest star to the Sun for several years.

However, if we want to accelerate a spaceship with people on board to near-light speeds, then we are faced with a problem that seems to be completely insurmountable – a large mass.

Therefore, scientists propose to send not a person to the stars, but a simpler organism that lives on Earth, aboard a much less massive interstellar ship, which can be accelerated to near-light speeds using a laser beam.

Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, USA, Philip Lubin is working on the creation of technology that will help to reach another star system in a time comparable to the duration of a human life.

Since traditional rocket fuel has too much mass, Lubin proposes to accelerate the spacecraft to speeds of the order of 20-30 percent of the speed of light using a battery of lasers installed on Earth or on the Moon. This method will allow the ship to reach the nearest planetary system, Proxima Centauri, in just 20 years, he notes.

The scientist proposes to place organisms called tardigrades or “water bears” – which are widely used for space experiments on board the spacecraft being sent, the masses of which can reach one gram or more.


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