9 PUBLISHED IDEAS
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Imagine that you are flying your drone on a planet 180 million kilometres away. It takes 20 minutes for your command to reach the planet – and the pictures you see of what is happening are 20 minutes old. You cannot take evasive or corrective action if anything goes wrong, it would take too late. This is the type of situation that the NASA's engineers did not wish to experience on the first flight of the "Ingenuity" helicopter on Mars on April 19.
The closest star to Earth is Proxima Centauri. It is about 4.25 light-years away or about 25 trillion miles (40 trillion km). The fastest-ever spacecraft, the now- in-space Parker Solar Probe will reach a top speed of 450,000 mph. It would take just 20 seconds to go from Los Angeles to New York City at that speed, but it would take the solar probe about 6,633 years to reach Earth’s nearest neighbouring solar system.
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