Debunking Conventional Rocket Interstellar Travel Once And For All

Previous Post in this Debunking Series.

Why is it necessary to debunk bad or unrealistic technologies? If don’t we live in a dream world idealized by theoretical engineering that has no hope of ever becoming financially feasible. What a waste of money, human resources and talent. I’d rather we know now upfront and channel our energies to finding feasible engineering and financial solutions. Wouldn’t you?

We did the math required to figure out how much fuel one would require just to reach 0.1c and then cost at that velocity until you reach Alpha Centauri and reverse thrust to orbit the star.

Table 1: Conventional Rocket Fuel Costs to travel to Alpha Centauri at   0.1c
Maximum Velocity (km/s)

1980’s cost ($/lb)

Proportion by Weight

Amount (lb)

Cost (in 1980 $)

Apollo Fuel Mass




Alpha Centauri Liquid H2

0.1c or 29,970 km/s













Note: 1) Fuel mass required to reach 0.1c or 29,970 km/s is twice   5,625,000*(29,979/11.2)^2,
once to accelerate 0.1c on leaving Earth and a second time to   decelerate at mid
journey to arrive at zero km/s
2) 8.00E+13 lbs converts into 36,287,389,600 metric tons

This analysis assumes that your payload is the about the same size as the Apollo 11 command, service and lunar modules with a combined mass of 46.7 metric tons. That gives you an idea of how impractically small 100 tons is for an interstellar flight.

The total cost of a conventional rocket interstellar trip is on the order of $238,596 billion! Even if we said that the costs are over estimated by 1,000x it would still costs $238 billion!

It is so unrealistic that if you search the internet the parties who say such a trip never discuss how much it will cost. The parties who say it cannot be will also point out the mass of fuel required.

I don’t need to say more. Debunked.


Benjamin T Solomon is the author & principal investigator of the 12-year study into the theoretical & technological feasibility of gravitation modification, titled An Introduction to Gravity Modification, to achieve interstellar travel in our lifetimes. For more information visit iSETI LLC, Interstellar Space Exploration Technology Initiative.

Solomon is inviting all serious participants to his LinkedIn Group Interstellar Travel & Gravity Modification.


About Benjamin Solomon
Ben Solomon is a Committee Member of the Nuclear and Future Flight Propulsion Technical Committee, American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA), and author of An Introduction to Gravity Modification and Super Physics for Super Technologies: Replacing Bohr, Heisenberg, Schrödinger & Einstein (with Kindle Version)

4 Responses to Debunking Conventional Rocket Interstellar Travel Once And For All

  1. Pingback: Debunking Time Travel (Looper) « iSETI

  2. Pingback: Debunking Antimatter Rockets for Interstellar Travel « iSETI

  3. You omitted another cost of such a trip — more than 44 years of travel time to reach our nearest extrasolar star. So not only would humankind have to invest almost 1/4 trillion dollars JUST on the fuel for such a mission, the investment would not begin pay off for half a century.

    If it succeeds at all and is not thwarted by mishaps like an error in the enormously complex computer code (a common problem in remote space missions to date) or a collision with a large piece of space dust, which at 1/10 the speed of light could cause a devastating explosion.

  4. Pingback: The Kline Directive: Economic Viability « iSETI

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