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Interstellar Propulsion Research Within NASANASA is actively conducting advanced propulsion research and technology development in various in-space transportation technologies with potential application to interstellar missions and precursors. Within the last few years, interest in the scientific community in interstellar missions as well as outer heliospheric missions, which could function as interstellar precursor missions, has increased. A mission definition team was charted by NASA to define such a precursor, The Interstellar Probe, which resulted in a prioritization of relatively near-term transportation technologies to support its potential implementation. In addition, the goal of finding and ultimately imaging extra solar planets has raised the issue of our complete inability to mount an expedition to such as planet, should one be found. Even contemplating such a mission with today's technology is a stretch of the imagination. However, there are several propulsion concepts, based on known physics, that have promise to enable interstellar exploration in the future. NASA is making small, incremental investments in some key advanced propulsion technologies in an effort to advance their state-of-the-art in support potential future mission needs. These technologies, and their relative maturity, are described.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Johnson, Les
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Cook, Stephen
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2001
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Meeting Information
Meeting: 52nd IAF Conference
Location: Toulouse
Country: France
Start Date: October 1, 2001
End Date: October 5, 2001
Sponsors: International Astronautical Federation
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 732-50-10
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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