Interstellar propulsion

Ravneet Kaur
7 min readMay 16, 2020

Somewhere.. something incredible is waiting to be known, Carl Sagan

Can we advance beyond Type I civilization yet? Are we technically skilled to acquire another star system? I am sure you all admire movies with the warp devices traveling from one-star system to another. Today, even a small kid is familiar with the concept of an expanding universe, so did we ever wonder how these spaceships are traveling with a speed greater than light speed? The concept of warp drives exists theoretically and is theoretically proven. If we acquire that kind of technology, wouldn’t we be the species leaving its trace forever by expanding its habitats? Let’s talk about how engineers see the possibility of an interstellar travel breakthrough.
The journey covered by voyager (which is well testified) traveled from earth to pluto was in the span of 13 years and it is the fastest one out there. But imagine traveling to another galaxy perhaps another star system. The closest known star system to us is Alpha Centauri and it would take centuries to reach there if we travel with the speed of current Voyager, moreover, it used gravity assistance of other celestial bodies to get there. Well, years is not the only issue here but how about the power to operate propulsion system we would need to reach there. In the deep space exists no gravity assistance, neither sunlight.
With the state of the art of propulsion system, the engineering aspects of interstellar travel vehicle seems impossible but who would have thought back in the 1940s that one day we will have the technology to plan a Mars journey. The major industries are working their way into developing the technology and in no meantime, interstellar propulsion will be major breakthrough in the history of space.
Currently, many concepts have been developed for the same. Though there might be just one or two interstellar missions planned but these concepts open the possibility for advancing those missions. Now someone would argue why shouldn’t ion propulsion which is well testified can be improved and used for interstellar missions. Well, the electrostatic propulsion requires a huge amount of power in the figures of megawatts, only nuclear energy can give us that, and top of that it is too slow for manned missions, we wouldn’t be surviving by the end of the trip. The space industry is always one step ahead. The recent developments in this area are mentioned…

Ravneet Kaur

Space Engineer 🌌🛰🚀👨‍🚀 STEM Activist 🔬♀️ A backpacker with a purpose. 🥾