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An Interstellar Probe Propelled by Nuclear Fusion

“Project Icarus is an ambitious five-year study into launching an unmanned spacecraft to an interstellar destination. Headed by the Tau Zero Foundation and British Interplanetary Society, a non-profit group of scientists dedicated to interstellar spaceflight, Icarus is working to develop a spacecraft that can travel to a nearby star.

The project was launched in 2009. One of the Terms of Reference of Project Icarus is:

“The spacecraft must reach its stellar destination within as fast a time as possible, not exceeding a century and ideally much sooner.”

Clearly, current technology still has some way to come in order to accomplish this goal, based on the figures discussed so far. In fact, based on the distance to the closest star, it appears that we need to accelerate to approximately 5 percent the speed of light…”

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