Culture and Society

Interstellar Conference News

February 21, 2017

Registration is now open for the 2017 Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop, which will be held in Huntsville, AL on October 4-6. The title for this year’s conference is “Step By Step: Building a Ladder to the Stars.” The registration page is here, and if you’re thinking of attending, I recommend registering right away, as spaces […]

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A Contact between Civilizations in the 19th Century

January 27, 2017

When we contemplate contact scenarios between ourselves and extraterrestrial civilizations, we can profit from remembering our own history. The European arrival in the Americas is often a model, but there are other events of equal complexity. In the essay below, Michael Michaud looks at America’s encounter with Japan to examine how we might react to […]

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Loretta Jackson Delong (1948-2016)

December 7, 2016

I was saddened to learn through Tau Zero Foundation CEO Rhonda Stevenson of the recent death of Loretta Jackson Delong. Stevenson issued this statement The Tau Zero Foundation extends its sincerest condolences to Dan DeLong, the XCOR and Agile families for the great loss of Loretta Jackson Delong. She was a pioneer from the start, […]

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Visualizing the Alien: A Hollywood Conundrum

December 1, 2016

Aliens used to look more or less like humans in the films of the 1950s. Think Michael Rennie in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), a polished alien presence if there ever was one. We got humanoid aliens with strange powers or technologies, like Jeff Morrow playing Exeter in This Island Earth (1955) — […]

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The Starship in our Future

November 23, 2016

The relentless expansion implicit in the Kardashev scale ranks civilizations according to their use of power, with the notion that there is an upward movement from exploiting the energy resources of a planet to the entire home star and then on to the galaxy (Type III). Hence the interest in trying to observe civilizations that […]

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Your Choice of Starships

November 14, 2016

Think fast. You’ve only got a day or so to work on this. You’ve been asked to come up with a plausible way of getting a fictional crew from one star to another, but laser sails and fusion rockets won’t do. The target might be thousands of light years away, so you have to be […]

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Star Trek Plus Fifty

September 9, 2016

The founder of the Tau Zero Foundation takes a look at the promise of Star Trek, and asks where we stand with regard to the many technologies depicted in the series. My own first memory of Star Trek is seeing a first year episode and realizing only a few days later that it had been […]

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Interstellar Comparisons

July 1, 2016

No one thinks big better than Adam Crowl, a Centauri Dreams regular and mainstay of the Icarus Interstellar attempt to reconfigure the Project Daedalus starship design of the 1970’s. If you’re looking for ideas for science fiction stories, you’ll find them in the essay below, where Adam considers the uses to which we might put […]

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The Use of Extraterrestrial Resources to Facilitate Space Science and Exploration

June 10, 2016

We get to the stars one step at a time, or as the ever insightful Lao Tzu put it long ago, ​”You accomplish the great task by a series of small acts.” Right now, of course, many of the necessary ‘acts’ seem anything but small, but as Ian Crawford explains below, they’re a necessary part […]

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Interstellar Flight in Congressional Report

May 26, 2016

I hadn’t planned the conjunction of the Breakthrough Starshot forum’s opening here on Centauri Dreams and the interesting news out of the NASA budget for 2017, but some things just fall into your lap. In any case, what happened in Washington makes a nice follow-up to yesterday’s post, considering that it calls up visions of […]

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