Authors: John E. Moores; Hugh Podmore
Addresses: Center for Research in Earth and Space Science (CRESS), York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada ' Center for Research in Earth and Space Science (CRESS), York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada
Abstract: This paper is intended to provoke a discussion within the space community of how a starchip architecture could benefit the exploration of the solar system and the part that Canada might play in advancing and using this technology. We find that the amount of required development is greatly reduced with a viable pathway to implementing this technology by the mid 2020s. Canada's expertise in optics, spacecraft development and geographical position offers unique advantages over other spacefaring nations in taking advantage of this opportunity. A 1-100 MW facility located above the Arctic Circle would allow for the exploration of much of the solar system through planetary fly-bys. Furthermore, as starchips make excellent entry vehicles and may make effective solar sails, such architecture would enable network science near planets in the inner solar system and on the surfaces of those with substantial atmospheres, such as Mars, Venus, Titan and the Giant Planets.
Keywords: small sat; planetary exploration; photon propulsion; Canada.
International Journal of Space Science and Engineering, 2019 Vol.5 No.2, pp.181 - 204
Received: 28 Mar 2018
Accepted: 07 Nov 2018
Published online: 15 Jan 2019 *