The Rigel concept calls for direct, on-surface, exploration of an exoplanet.
This proposal will send a robot geologist to an exoplanet in the tau Ceti
system. At a distance of 10 light-years, this may be the nearest system that
includes a temperate rocky planet. As with Apollo, the Rigel project will
provide a way to marshal efforts from many fields of engineering. The key to
the Rigel concept is long-term development and management. A mission that lasts
for a thousand years will require multi-generational oversight. Rigel may start
out as a NASA project, but will later become a global endeavor. The
construction of a robot ambassador from planet Earth can serve to unite the
community of nations. It will bring out the best in us as we work on a project
that will benefit our distant descendants.
Subjects: Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics; Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics