Culture and Society

TVIW: From Wormholes to Orion

November 20, 2014

People keep asking what I think about Christopher Nolan’s new film ‘Interstellar.’ The answer is that I haven’t seen it yet, but plan to early next week. Some of the attendees of the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop were planning to see the film on the event’s third day, but I couldn’t stick around long enough […]

Read the full article →

Building Large Structures in Space

November 19, 2014

One thing the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop did not offer was a lot of spare time. Les Johnson told attendees at the beginning that we would be working straight through. Between presentations and workshop sessions, that was pretty much the case, with no break at all between an 8:00 start and lunch, and afternoon sessions […]

Read the full article →

TVIW: Caveats for Long-Duration Missions

November 18, 2014

When he opened the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop in Oak Ridge last week, Les Johnson told the audience that sessions would begin and end on time. Punctuality is a trait that I assume works well in Johnson’s day job at Marshall Space Flight Center, and it certainly was appreciated in Oak Ridge, where the delays […]

Read the full article →

Going Interstellar at Oak Ridge

November 17, 2014

When I was last in Oak Ridge, TN for the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop in 2011, I arrived late in the evening and the fog was so thick that, although I had a map, I decided against trying to find Robert Kennedy’s house, where the pre-conference reception was being held. This year the fog held […]

Read the full article →

Driggers on The Space Show

November 2, 2014

Aerospace engineer and science fiction novelist Gerald Driggers will be a guest on The Space Show, hosted by David Livingston, tomorrow (Monday) at 5 PM Eastern US time (2200 UTC). You can listen to the show here. Centauri Dreams readers know Gerald as a champion of space colonization efforts going back to the days of […]

Read the full article →

Starflight: Millennial Options

October 23, 2014

Over the years we’ve discussed many concepts for ships that could take us to the stars (they’re all in the archives), and none of them are without problems. Although Les Shepherd was analyzing antimatter possibilities by 1952 and solar sails were already coming into the mix, I’d argue that the first design that looked like […]

Read the full article →

The Cost of Interstellar Flight

October 22, 2014

Sten Odenwald, an astronomer at the National Institute of Aerospace, takes aim at interstellar flight in a recent essay for the Huffington Post. Dr. Odenwald’s critique makes many valid points by way of showing how difficult the interstellar challenge is. I am much in favor of articles that do this, because putting a payload past […]

Read the full article →

Woven Light: Age of Release

October 17, 2014

Librarian and writer Heath Rezabek (and since he’s birthing what looks to me to be a book, I should probably refer to him as a novelist as well) has been exploring the ways we might use archives to explore our civilization even as we ensure its survival against existential risk. Heath uses speculative fiction to […]

Read the full article →

A Sunset Glimpse of Deep Time

October 14, 2014

A truncated schedule this week as I attend to a pressing project that needs all my attention. So no post today or Wednesday, but back Thursday with a look at the Alpha Centauri planet hunt and the still-unresolved question of Centauri Bb. For the short interval, I’ll leave you with this quote from Lee Billings […]

Read the full article →

Closing Out 100YSS: Antimatter, Gravitational Lensing & a Modified Orion

September 26, 2014

I don’t envy the track chairs at any conference, particularly conferences that are all about getting large numbers of scientists into the right place at the right time. Herding cats? But the track model makes inherent sense when you’re dealing with widely disparate disciplines. Earlier in the week I mentioned how widely the tracks at […]

Read the full article →