How hard is interstellar flight without some form of a warp drive? Consider the Voyager 1 spacecraft , a small 0.722 mT spacecraft launched in 1977, it is currently out at ~116 Astronomical Units (Au) after 33 years of flight with a cruise speed of 3.6 Au per year. This is the highest energy craft ever launched by mankind to date, yet it will take ~75000 years to reach Proxima Centauri, the nearest star at 4.3 light years away in our neighboring trinary system, Alpha Centauri. Rough calculations suggest that such a Nuclear Electric Propulsion (Nep) robotic mission would pass Voyager 1 in just a few years on its way to reaching 1000 Au in 15 years. While this is a handy improvement over Voyager 1 statistics - almost 2 orders of magnitude, this speedy robotic craft would still take thousands of years to cross the black ocean to Proxima Centauri. Clearly interstellar flight will not be an easy endeavor.
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