The Gravitational Lens as (radio) Relay

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The Gravitational Lens as (radio) Relay

Postby southwestforests on Sat 19 Dec 2020 16:58

Saw this via a sci fi conflict simulation group, perhaps pf interest? ... io-bridge/

The FOCAL Radio Bridge
by Paul Gilster on December 14, 2020
Can gravitational lensing help? We’ve seen that the Sun’s mass shapes spacetime around it, bending light from targets on the other side so that electromagnetic waves come to a focal point about 550 AU out. The implications for imaging are under intense study at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where Slava Turyshev’s team, working with a Phase III NIAC grant, is exploring “Direct Multipixel Imaging and Spectroscopy of an Exoplanet with a Solar Gravitational Lens Mission,” taking two prior studies, a Phase I and II at NIAC, forward in terms of imaging.
The Gravitational Lens as Relay
How is this possible? There are a lot of issues here, but we can start with Bit Error Rate, which has to do with the quality of a signal. Specifically, BER is the number of erroneous bits received divided by the total number of bits transmitted. We can compare the Bit Error Rate across interstellar distances with and without the gravitational lens effect, as Maccone first did in a 2011 paper. I’m going to use that paper and his recent presentation to examine the results and what they mean for current thinking about missions.
The paper is Maccone, “Interstellar Radio Links Enhanced by Exploiting the Sun as a Gravitational Lens,” Acta Astronautica Vol. 68, Issues 1-2 (January-February 2011), pp. 76-84 (abstract/full text).
Screw the rivets, I build models for atmosphere, not detail
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Re: The Gravitational Lens as (radio) Relay

Postby Cralis on Sun 20 Dec 2020 19:33

I skimmed through it, but let me see if I'm reading this correctly: they are suggesting firing radio communications at the sun in a way that takes advantage of gravitational lensing, in order to focus the beam enough to reach another star system with enough power to be receivable AND readable. Is that correct?

Interesting idea.

Not the easiest to exploit, as I didn't see any mention of how far from the sun you have to be to take advantage of the phenomena, but you also would be very limited in where in the star system you could be in order to send the message to the correct destination. And it doesn't get rid of the speed of light limitations of radio communications either.

But very interesting...
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