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Stars for JWST

May 1, 2013

Red dwarfs or brown? The question relates to finding targets as the James Webb Space Telescope gets closer to launch. We’re going to want to have a well defined target list so that the JWST can be put to work right away, and part of that effort means finding candidate planets the telescope can probe. […]

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Bostrom: From Extinction to Transcendence

February 27, 2013

At the top of my list of people I’d someday like to have a long conversation with is Nick Bostrom, a philosopher and director of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute. As Centauri Dreams readers will likely know, Bostrom has been thinking about the issue of human extinction for a long time, his ideas playing interestingly […]

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Starships of the Mind

February 22, 2013

Michael Michaud wrote the essay that follows back in 1978 for a now-defunct magazine that never published it. In recent correspondence about Daedalus designer Alan Bond, Michael referred to the essay and I asked him to forward a copy, which had also passed through the hands of Freeman Dyson and Bob Forward not long after […]

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Exomoons: A Direct Imaging Possibility

November 9, 2012

It’s good to see that David Kipping’s work on exomoons is back in the popular press in the form of A Harvest of New Moons, an article in The Economist. Based at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Kipping’s Hunt for Exomoons with Kepler (HEK) culls Kepler data and massages the information, looking for the tug […]

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Reflections on Centauri B b

October 18, 2012

When planet-hunter Greg Laughlin (UC-Santa Cruz) took his turn at the recent press conference announcing the Alpha Centauri B findings, he used the occasion to make a unique visual comparison. One image showed the planet Saturn over the limb of the Moon, as shown immediately below in a 1997 photo from Krzysztof Z. Stanek. Think […]

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The Institute for Interstellar Studies

October 12, 2012

by Kelvin F. Long I recently asked Kelvin Long to write an introduction to the Institute for Interstellar Studies he has created, and he was kind enough to send along a useful overview, along with a backgrounder on his own work: “Kelvin Long is an aerospace engineer and physicist. He is chief editor of the […]

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A Space Telescope Enmeshed in History

September 20, 2012

It’s been heartening to see renewed interest in the space program’s past. Neil Armstrong’s death surely had something to do with it, for the scattering of his ashes at sea, which occurred while the 100 Year Starship Symposium was in session, was a reminder of the dramatic days when public fascination with space was intense […]

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The Psychology of Space Exploration: A Review

September 11, 2012

By Larry Klaes A new book looking at the inner lives of astronauts is Larry Klaes’ subject today. Planning for long-term missions like a manned trip to Mars requires a great deal of work on closed systems, as we’ve recently discussed. But we also have to consider the psychological issues raised by confinement in a […]

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SETI: Starship Radiation Signatures

August 21, 2012

Yesterday we pondered the possibility of detecting an interstellar craft as a new kind of SETI. If the energies needed to drive such a vessel are as titanic as we think, there could be a detectable signature, as Robert Zubrin pointed out in a 1995 paper. Zubrin’s best case in visible light involved an antimatter […]

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Disruptive Planets and their Consequences

May 24, 2012

One of the joys of writing a site like Centauri Dreams is that I can choose my own topics and devote as much or as little time as I want to each. The downside is that when I’m covering something in greater depth, as with the four articles on antimatter that ran in the last […]

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