KIC 8462852: Where Are We After Eight Months?

May 10, 2016

The unusual star designated KIC 8462852, and now widely known as ‘Tabby’s Star,’ continues to be an enigma. As discussed in numerous articles in these pages, KIC 8462852 shows anomalous lightcurves that remain a mystery. Recently Michael Hippke explored a related question: Was the star dimming over time, as postulated by Louisiana State’s Bradley Schaefer? […]

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Beamed Sail Concepts Over Time

May 9, 2016

If you’ve been following the Breakthrough Starshot concept in these pages and elsewhere, you’ll know that it’s small at one end and big on the other. A beamed sail mission, it would use sails four meters to the side — quite small by reference to earlier beamed sail designs — driven by a massive phased […]

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C/2014 S3: ‘Manx Object’ from the Oort Cloud

May 4, 2016

When you don’t have the technology to get to an interesting place like the Oort Cloud, it’s more than a little helpful when nature brings an Oort Cloud object to you. At least we think that the object known as C/2014 S3 (Pan-STARRS) has moved into the warmer regions of the Solar System from the […]

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SETI: A New Kind of ‘Water Hole’

April 5, 2016

Some of you may recall an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in which the inhabitants of a planet called Aldea use a planetary defense system that includes a cloaking device. The episode, “When the Bough Breaks,” at one point shows the view from the Enterprise’s screens as the entire planet swims into view. […]

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Thirteen to Centaurus

March 25, 2016

J. G. Ballard (1930-2009) emerged as one of the leading figures in 20th Century science fiction. His fascination with inner as opposed to ‘outer’ space infused his characters and landscapes with a touch of the surreal, taking the fiction of the space age into deeply psychological realms. Christopher Phoenix here looks at the question of […]

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The Cereal Box

November 20, 2015

“No matter how these issues are ultimately resolved, Centauri Dreams opts for the notion that even the back of a cereal box may contain its share of mysteries.” I wrote that line in 2005, and if it sounds cryptic, read on to discover its origins, ably described by Christopher Phoenix. I first encountered Christopher in […]

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First Post-Flyby Pluto Imagery

July 15, 2015

I’m on the road and don’t have a lot of time for writing, but I want to go ahead and get these new Pluto images up. They’re now available on the NASA site, and were introduced at the news conference at JHU/APL that just concluded. I’ll also quote just a bit of the news release […]

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End of an Era in Planetary Exploration?

July 7, 2015

While both Alan Stern and Glen Fountain admitted to having anxious moments over the weekend when New Horizons went silent, it became clear at yesterday’s news conference that those moments were short and quickly subsumed with ongoing duties. Stern is principal investigator for New Horizons, and the man most closely identified with making the mission […]

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Yarkovsky and YORP Effect Propulsion for Long-life Starprobes

June 22, 2015

Centauri Dreams regular James Jason Wentworth wrote recently with some musings about Bracewell probes, proposed by Ronald Bracewell in a 1960 paper. Bracewell conceived the idea of autonomous craft that could monitor developments in a distant solar system, perhaps communicating with any local species that developed technology. Pondering how such a craft might manage station-keeping […]

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Of an Archive on the Moon

December 12, 2014

Lunar Mission One is an interesting private attempt to put a payload on the lunar surface, a crowdsourced project aimed at doing good science and deepening public participation in spaceflight. Remembering the Apollo days, I’m always interested in seeing what can be done to renew interest in space, and having the chance to make a […]

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