# B Math tools in a travel to Alpha Centauri?

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1. Apr 23, 2017

### Rodrigo Olivera

I want to know what mathematical tools I would use in the event that we have the right technology. So far I have only calculated the distance to Alpha Centauri using parallax.

I need any other tool: hypothetical speeds of ships, trigonometry, vectors, trajectories, any tool that is necessary for a trip to alpha centauri.

(Obviously a journey that does not last thousands of years).

2. Apr 23, 2017

### sophiecentaur

Would your tools allow you to find out how long it would take, using modern day rocket technology? How many years do you have to spare?

3. Apr 23, 2017

### Rodrigo Olivera

No, I mean in the case we have the technology needed

4. Apr 23, 2017

### sophiecentaur

I'm not sure what you actually mean by your question, then. Parallax is fine for working out 'small' distances like that. You would still need to know some orbital calculations to work out how to slow down and get into orbit of the star or any planets you would find there. It's amazing that astronomers in Newton's time had nearly all the (mathematical) tools needed.

5. Apr 23, 2017

### Staff: Mentor

6. Apr 23, 2017

### Rodrigo Olivera

So what are that tools? I mean, do we need vectors to get to Alpha Centauri? do we need functions? Whatever math tool worth

7. Apr 23, 2017

### Rodrigo Olivera

<Moderator's note: Moved from another thread.>

The spacecraft is Orion, with a Speed of 10.000 km/s. The spacecraft will use the gravitational asisstance of the Sun in order to get to Alpha Centauri.
Which trayectory have to take? It's on January, feel free to mention angles or other math tool to get to alpha centauri.

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8. Apr 23, 2017

### Staff: Mentor

Do you need apples to survive? No. Bananas? No. Any other food in particular? No. But you do need some food.

You'll need a solid mathematical education. There are many ways to calculate trajectories, you don't have to choose a specific one, but without mathematics you won't make it.

9. Apr 23, 2017

### Staff: Mentor

As mfb said, you need to have a solid education in math and physics to compute trajectories. Learning math and physics is hard and requires a lot of time and effort, so if you don't already have these then it would be impossible to teach you in a forum thread.

10. Apr 23, 2017

### sophiecentaur

There are no short cuts and I wouldn't trust any readily available 'simulation tool'.

11. Apr 23, 2017

Staff Emeritus
That's not possible. And that illustrates the problem of trying to collect the necessary knowledge piecemeal. It's not that you don't know things. It's that you don't know what you don't know.

12. Apr 24, 2017

### Staff: Mentor

You can use the Oberth effect. But if the spacecraft is supposed to reach Alpha Centauri in a reasonable timeframe, this doesn't help in a notable way.