The Astronomical, Astrobiological and Planetary Science Case for Interstellar Spaceflight

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I.A. Crawford (2009), JBIS, 62, 415-421

Refcode: 2009.62.415
Keywords: Interstellar travel, interstellar medium, extrasolar planets, astrobiology

A review is presented of the scientific benefits of rapid (v 0.1 c) interstellar spaceflight. Significant benefits are identified in the fields of interstellar medium studies, stellar astrophysics, planetary science and astrobiology. In the latter three areas the benefits would be considerably enhanced if the interstellar vehicle is able to decelerate from its interstellar cruise velocity to rest relative to the target system. Although this will greatly complicate the mission architecture, and extend the overall travel time, the scientific benefits are such that this option should be considered seriously in future studies.


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