Mission impossible: how to colonize an exoplanet?


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Tuesday, July 20, 2021 at 05:56 AM – Colonizing another planet is not for tomorrow. Is the dream of reaching another planetary system realistic? Can we hope one day to send a ship or even humans to a star not too distant?

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Leaving Earth

Once the Earth becomes uninhabitable, humans will have to leave it. We know our planet is not eternal. In fact, in 500 million years, the Sun will enter its expansion phase. Sooner or later a catastrophe will force humanity to find another place in the universe to colonize it. Mars could be an option, but conditions remain hostile for the living. Are there other places that could support life beyond the solar system?

In search of an exoplanet

Even if researchers have not yet confirmed the existence of a habitable exoplanet, there is a good chance of finding one within a few years. For such a place to support life, the climate must be temperate so that a hydrological cycle exists and water is found there in large quantities in liquid, solid and gaseous form. Considering the very large number of stars in the Milky Way, an even greater number of planets exist. Obviously, a small percentage of these exoplanets are potentially habitable.

An impossible journey

A major problem remains insoluble: travel. The astronauts reached the Moon, which is about 400,000 kilometers from Earth. One day, humans will travel to Mars, a journey of about six months when the Red Planet ends up in its closest orbit. With the chemical propulsion mode, it is possible to reach a speed of about ten kilometers per second. Traveling at the speed of light would allow you to travel at 300,000 kilometers per second. To reach the closest star in the solar system, a spacecraft equipped with current technology would take about 70,000 years. In fact, Proxima Centauri is located 4.2 light years from our planet. It would therefore take about four years to get there considering that our rocket is moving at the speed of light.

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