In this chapter we learn some fundamental astrophysics and consider the types of stars that exist in the universe. This is important, as the determination of a suitable destination is a fundamental prerequisite to launching any interstellar probe. Such a venture will require an enormous amount of effort, time and money; and mission planners need to be sure that they are sending the probe to the right place. When it finally reaches its destination, perhaps a century later, it will enter the orbit of another star and even of an extrasolar planet with a suitable biosphere for life. This could become a future home for pioneering humans, representing our first true expansion out into the cosmos. Alternatively, we may find life is there already and shed light on a question that has haunted our dreams since we had first looked to the heavens – are we alone in the universe?
KeywordsBurning Methane Phosphorus Dust Microwave
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