Plenary: Prof. Gregory Matloff


Aerographite has been suggested in a recent paper as a possible candidate for interstellar photon sailing. This paper begins by presenting known properties of this extremely low density, light absorptive, material. After a review of analytical tools, a number of possible interstellar missions are then considered. The first confirms that a thin-film Sun-accelerated probe deployed at the 0.4-AU perihelion of an initially parabolic solar orbit could reach Proxima/Alpha Centauri after a voyage duration of about 2 centuries. The next case examined is a thin-film probe accelerated to about 0.033c by an in-space laser array. Finally, it is shown that a combined aerographite-graphene hollow-body solar-photon sail may have significant advantages in accelerating a generation ship to an interstellar cruise velocity in excess of 900 km/s. Some of the unknowns regarding this substance that must be addressed before this material can be applied to interstellar sail application are also discussed.