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Using Quantum Mechanics, We Can Reach Foreign Stars in a Human Lifetime

What's the Latest Development?

Icarus Interstellar Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to enabling interstellar flight by 2100, believes quantum mechanics may hold the key to a propulsion system capable of traversing the immense distances of space within a human lifetime. Contrary to classical physics, which states the that vacuum of space is essentially empty, quantum mechanics describes it as a place buzzing with energy. Using lasers to create a powerful electrical field, electron-positron pairs can be created from the vacuum space itself. Such a technique could be used to farm and store vast amounts of energy capable of propelling a mission to another star or planetary system.

What's the Big Idea?

The principle obstacle to interstellar space travel is the distance humans would have to cross to study another star or planet outside our solar system up close. "Voyager 1, launched in 1977, is the furthest manmade object from Earth, and travels at over 10 miles per second (36,000 mph). Even traveling at this incredible speed, it would take just over 70,000 years to reach the closest star to our solar system." Icarus Interstellar's ultimate goal is to design deep-space missions that could be completed within the time frame of a professional scientist's career. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


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