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Re: starship-design: Go Starwisps

In a message dated 6/25/97 11:32:50 AM, zkulpa@zmit1.ippt.gov.pl (Zenon
Kulpa) wrote:

>> From: "L. Parker" <lparker@cacaphony.net>
>> Now to more mundane matters. The point of my posting the list of stars 
>> within 5 parsecs wasn't to poke holes in it (sorry Zenon) 
>As a scientists, I am used to carefully check my data before
>drawing any conclusions from them  ;-)
>> I just wanted 
>> everyone to see that there were FIFTY EIGHT stars within our reach NOW. 
>> If you expand that another 5 parsecs there are THOUSANDS. I think we are 
>> wasting time here...we need a couple of gigawatt free electron lasers 
>> in orbit to start pushing out Starwisps as soon as we can. 
>> We should be getting the first results back by the time we figure out 
>> a better way to push manned starships to the stars.
>I do agree.
>Generally I consider it obvious that starting interstellar manned 
>missions must be preceded by a series of robotic flyby/pathfinder 
>missions (various scenarios of this sort were posted on this list,
>e.g. by me and, just recently, Lee).
>And these robotic probes are far easier to design, build and launch 
>using even today's technology. In the same time, they constitute
>a good exercise in interstellar flight technology,
>necessary to be advanced and tested before any attempts 
>to actually build and use a manned starship.
>Possibly we should switch (at least for some time...)
>into design of such robotic probe(s)?

I used to agree with this.  But given you can probably gain about the same
amount of info via super sized telescopes, and the robots would report back
for decades (by then the whole projects likely to be obsolete).  I'm
woundering if robot probes aer very usefull?