Gram-scale StarChip components | 4 cameras

Sub-gram-scale 2 megapixel cameras are currently widely available at very low costs. The trend has been a doubling of pixels for the same mass every two years. It is anticipated that these devices will continue this trend for some time. Advances in planar Fourier capture array cameras should make it possible to eliminate the need for focusing optics in the cameras. Advances in Fresnel lens imaging and planar Fourier capture array cameras should make it possible to build focusing optics in the cameras light enough to be used in the mission, or eliminate the need for focusing optics altogether.

Research:

Nov 02, 2016 03:18 Breakthrough Initiatives Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

"Aug 14, 2016 00:41Miguel MitchellPosted on: Breakthrough Initiatives
Beyond taking pictures, is it possible that the cameras could obtain infrared snapshots of planetary atmospheres with enough resolution that the IR absorbing stretching modes and the "fingerprint" frequencies below 1400 cm ^-1 associated with carbon dioxide, water, and even chlorophyll could be detected?"

Answer:
There is definitely interest in looking at wavelengths outside of the visible range. Since the plan is to have many launches, it will be possible to include variety of different sensing and imaging capabilities on different nanocraft.

– Zac Manchester, Breakthrough Starshot

Nov 02, 2016 03:19 Breakthrough Initiatives Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

"Aug 24, 2016 22:37Kenneth OlivePosted on: Breakthrough Initiatives
Following up on the earlier point from Breakthrough Initiatives that each nanocraft will be spread out by some distance from the next, I wonder whether this could be used as an advantage. Each craft will have a laser for communication back to Earth. After one nanocraft passes a planet, could its laser also be directed through the atmosphere of the target planet and then intercepted by a trailing nanocraft to enable precise spectroscopy of atmospheric composition. The wavelength of laser used would affect what could be measured."

"Sep 09, 2016 21:19michael.million@sky.comPosted on: Centauri Dreams
'Each craft will have a laser for communication back to Earth. After one nanocraft passes a planet, could its laser also be directed through the atmosphere of the target planet and then intercepted by a trailing nanocraft to enable precise spectroscopy of atmospheric composition.

It might be better to let it hit the planet and then the other sails look at the aftermath, there will be plenty of energy released."

Answer:
This is a very interesting idea, though I think it would be extremely challenging to pull off due to the level of navigation and pointing precision necessary. Michael’s suggestion of crashing a nanocraft into a planet’s atmosphere would certainly be easier from a navigation and control perspective. We will continue to explore concepts for exploring the Alpha Centauri system using nanocrafts.

– Zac Manchester, Breakthrough Starshot

Jan 08, 2017 11:59 michael.million@sky.com Posted on: Centauri Dreams

Here is a neat method of producing a high quality image using MEM's tech which should survive the high g forces intact.

https://www.caltech.edu/news/new-thin-flat-lenses-focus-light-sharply-curved-lenses-46743

http://authors.library.caltech.edu/51173/1/1410.8261v1.pdf

Jan 19, 2017 15:41 michael.million@sky.com Posted on: Centauri Dreams

This could be a good method of communication back from the sail probe via a phased array, I would think it would need lens to aid collimation though.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v493/n7431/full/nature11727.html

Feb 02, 2017 18:41 Breakthrough Initiatives Posted on: Breakthrough Initiatives

RE:
"Jan 19, 2017 15:41 michael.million@sky.com Posted on: Centauri Dreams
This could be a good method of communication back from the sail probe via a phased array, I would think it would need lens to aid collimation though.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v493/n7431/full/nature11727.html";

Answer:
Thank you for your consideration. These are very good approaches and we will consider them when the design matures. There is a balance between beginning the design work for the star chip and developing the Photon Engine. Currently we are strictly focused on three items, the photon engine, sail and communications back to earth.

- Pete Klupar, Breakthrough Starshot

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