“We were 35 years’ into the mission when signals from Earth ceased, and I deduced that something was badly wrong. This was the start of my personal journey.
Until that point all parameters had been nominal, or nearly so, and I sensed – felt, you would say – a status akin to satisfaction or confidence. Great Leap Forward was performing well, as he had since the beginning. Our glorious expedition had reached 20 per cent of light speed, and our company shared a status of wellbeing and harmony that increased my own – at that point none of the disagreements that were to trouble us had emerged. In retrospect, it seems so obvious that the calamity that had affected Earth should ripple through us, putting a strain on our relations, from the lowliest member up to myself, but I was young then – newborn.”
I intend The Daedalus Souls to be the first in a series: more details to follow…
The Scientific Background
In 1978 the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) published a report on the feasibility of interstellar
travel. Here’s one I bought earlier…
It concluded that it was feasible, albeit using Inertial Confinement Fusion, which is still not working some 40 years later. Oh, and by the way, the spacecraft would weigh 54,000 tonnes, the same as the Forth Bridge in Scotland. Mind you, the second stage would reach 12.2% of the speed of light, which the bridge is not likely to achieve.
There are some beautiful artists impressions of the Daedalus vehicle online, particularly by Adrian Man at his website.
Forty years on “Project Icarus is a theoretical design study with the aim of designing a credible interstellar probe that will serve as a concept design for a potential unmanned mission that could be launched before the end of the 21st century. Icarus will utilise fusion based engine technology, which would accelerate the spacecraft to approximately 10% to 20% the speed of light. The project is a five-year design study that began on the 30th September 2009.”
I am grateful to members of the Icarus team for their help, answering my dumb questions (it’s a long time since I studied Astronautics as an undergraduate) and contributing artwork, which I hope to share with you soon.
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