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Interstellar Vehicle propelled by Terrestrial Laser Beam


IN a recent article Marx1 examined the possibility that interstellar travel may be accomplished in the lifetime of an astronaut. He pointed out that the attainment of relativistic velocities by a rocket-propelled vehicle is hampered by the low efficiency, which is a result of the energy acquired by the ejected mass. Marx suggested that if an interstellar vehicle were driven by the pressure exerted on it by a light beam transmitted from the Earth, then, because the recoil momentum and energy would now be acquired by an extremely massive body—the Earth—the energy wasted would be negligible.

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  1. Marx, G., Nature, 211, 22 (1966).

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REDDING, J. Interstellar Vehicle propelled by Terrestrial Laser Beam. Nature 213, 588–589 (1967).

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