While Ghost Ship is currently only a concept, its new ignition system could be the way forward
Destination: Alpha Centauri – a triple system of stars located some 4.37 light years away from the Sun and our closest stellar neighbours. This system could have at least one planet, an Earth-sized world called Alpha Centauri Bb and perhaps there could be more. If we want to learn about and explore other stars and exoplanets, Alpha Centauri is our best bet but, even though it might be relatively close, getting there will be a feat in itself.
That’s what Project Icarus is all about. A joint project between the British Interplanetary Society and Icarus Interstellar, its goal is to design a starship using current or near future technology. As part of its development, Project Icarus members were encouraged to form teams to design possible propulsion schemes using nuclear fusion that could feature in the final Icarus design. The winning starship was the Ghost Ship, led by Andreas Hein of the Technical University of Munich. While the Ghost Ship is still only a concept, the sophistication of its ignition system could be the way forward when it comes to interstellar travel.
Nuclear fusion ...