The Institute Call for Proposals Studies Library Student Programs Newsroom Gallery

Andrew Bingham, Clarkson University

Interstellar Exploration by Repeated External Acceleration

The greatest challenge for interstellar missions is distance.

Interstellar probes must cross distances of two hundred astronomical units (almost ten billion miles), so far away that communication is difficult and voyages are impossibly long. Since 2003, Andrew has been working on a complete architecture for interstellar exploration by proposing a system of external acceleration stations placed throughout the solar system. With this award Andrew will expand development of his concept, examining the feasibility of advanced propulsion systems like the MagBeam (a NIAC-funded concept) or tethers for spacecraft, ion propulsion drives for the stations themselves, and communication and navigation technologies for the system. The architecture would be useful not only for interstellar exploration but as a solar system infrastructure allowing for transportation of large payloads between, Earth Mars, and other planets, moons and asteroids.

Andrew, a past NIAC Phases I and II Student Fellow, is a sophomore at Clarkson University taking dual majors in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering. He is a student in the Clarkson University Honors Program, recently awarded the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater scholarship. andis a member of the laboratory of Professor Ken Visser. He is an intern at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and recently served as a crewmember at the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station.