We are pleased to announce that the Initiative for Interstellar Studies has just launched four MSc projects in collaboration with the International Space University with the students dealing specifically with interstellar-themed topics.
The students assigned to the projects are James Harpur (Ireland), Piotr Murzoniak (Belarus), Wei Wang (China) and Erik Franks (USA). The Director of the Institute’s Educational Academy Rob Swinney said, “This is a really exciting time for Initiative and to launch these projects with the International Space University marks a major step forward for interstellar studies and augurs well for the future. We welcome the students and look forward to working with them in this exciting field.”
Dr Chris Welch, the Director of Masters Programs at the ISU, added, “We are extremely pleased to be working with the Initiative on these four projects, which demonstrate ISU’s engagement with ‘the long view’ of space exploration, and follow very clearly the vision of our first Chancellor, Sir Arthur C Clarke.”
Here is some background on the individual students and their projects. Further detail will follow in future posts.
James Harpur will be undertaking the design of an interstellar probe with a science payload of only 100 kg
The study is of interest as earlier concepts and designs for interstellar missions have often resulted in massive space vehicles. The focus given for the mission itself will be to study the planets in the target star system with efforts made to gather science data and transmit the data back to Earth.
Piotr Murzionak will be performing a study of an interstellar precursor probe with a target range of 550-1000 AU which will be important in illustrating the ability to reach the Sun’s gravitational lensing point
The aim of the mission will be studies of stars and planets in the target systems, with focus on data gathering techniques and requirements for observation.
Wei Wang will be investigating the deceleration options for a robotic interstellar spacecraft entering the system of another star
Credible engineering designs of interstellar orbital craft to date have proved challenging and a major issue has been the difficulty in decelerating the vehicle. The aim of this project will be to not only consider as many deceleration options as possible and consider the advantages and disadvantages of each technical solution but also to consider other relevant factors such as technological readiness levels and estimated first use date.
Eric Franks will consider agricultural techniques for deep space microgravity or low gravity environments that might satisfy the requirements of a viable habitat in space populated by around 1,000 people.
He will consider livestock populations plus plants, fungi and other life forms to produce food and other useful products and will address the necessary technology, processes and techniques.