Animation about solar sailing to the nearest star


Originally published at:


I thought that they were angels but to my surprise
They climbed aboard their starship and headed for the skies
Singing, come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me

My God. Styx was right about everything.


Except Too Much Time on my Hands. I am severely lacking in time to sit on a barstool and talk like a damn fool.


2045: Humanity receives confirmation of extraterrestrial life in the form of multiple lawsuits filed by aliens complaining of being blinded by our lasers as well as damage to fuselages from collisions with tiny projectiles.


Any sufficiently powerful propulsion system is indistinguishable from a weapon. I may have garbled that quote, Cliven’s law. Nivark’s Law?


Pretty sure our more successful physical probing of more distant reaches of the universe is gonna require something along the lines of an r-type strategy… we should be thinking dandelion seeds.

But not an R Type strategy. :wink:


Hmm. It sounds an awful lot like “If brute force doesn’t work, you’re not using enough of it.” (Kenyon’s Law?)


“A reaction drive’s efficiency as a weapon is in direct proportion to its efficiency as a drive.”
— The Kzinti Lesson, Larry Niven.


Thank you for finding the exact quote. I appreciate that and the humor of humorlessness.


How do you keep funding a project that’s produced no results for 10 years, and costs a fortune?

Also, how do you decelerate?


This does not seem like a suitable answer to the problem of traveling long distances through space. Let’s build that space elevator first, then think about firing intergalactic lasers.


You decelerate by detaching part of the solar sail to reflect the light back at the part still attached to the probe.


for the probes that actually make it – interstellar dust is a killer – this is a flyby mission. No retro on the getro. No stoppin for the poppin. No stayin for the playin. In and out at 20% light speed. To infinity and beyond.


Seriously, you need to write that story before Charlie Stross does. Chop chop.


Actually, I realized after writing it that there were similarities to Year


As long as they call them starwisps i’ll be happy.


I’m not sure there’s a Russian word for wisp.


Don’t spoil it! :rage:


Sorry :slight_frown:


No no. It’s fine. It’s just debate night and we’re all on edge.

…and breathe