Culture and Society

Breakthrough Starshot: ‘Challenges’ Forum Opens

May 25, 2016

Ever since coming back from the Breakthrough Discuss meeting in Palo Alto, I have been pondering the enormous issues the Breakthrough Starshot project will encounter. Getting a tiny spacecraft up to twenty percent of lightspeed is only the beginning of an effort that has to deal with power generation, a phased laser array of enormous […]

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Towards Producing Food in Space: ESA’s MELiSSA and NASA’s VEGGIE

May 20, 2016

Before we can go to the stars we’ll need to build a robust infrastructure in our own Solar System. While most attention seems to be devoted to propulsion issues, I’m convinced that an equally critical question is how we can create and sustain closed-loop life support systems for such missions. Our point man on this […]

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Extraterrestrial First Contact in Space Protocols

May 13, 2016

As we move into the outer Solar System and beyond, the possibility exists that we may encounter an extraterrestrial species engaged in similar exploration. How we approach first contact has been a theme of science fiction for many years (Murray Leinster’s 1945 story ‘First Contact’ is a classic treatment). In the essay below, Ken Wisian […]

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Toward a Space-based Anthropology

May 6, 2016

Cameron Smith is no stranger to these pages, having examined the role of evolution in human expansion into space (see Biological Evolution in Interstellar Human Migration), cultural changes on interstellar journeys (Human Universals and Cultural Evolution on Interstellar Voyages), as well as the composition of worldship crews (Optimal Worldship Populations). An anthropologist and prehistorian at […]

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Breakthrough Discuss: Initial Thoughts

April 18, 2016

The Breakthrough Initiatives conference I’ve just returned from, called Breakthrough Discuss 2016, had been a bit of a puzzle going in. Still bleary after an early morning arrival in Palo Alto, I was looking forward to getting to the Stanford campus for the first sessions the next day. Breakfasting at a small cafe near the […]

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On Track for ‘Breakthrough Discuss’

April 14, 2016

Expect no new posts until Monday and a slowdown in comment moderation as I attend the Breakthrough Initiatives event in Palo Alto. As has been my practice at previous such events, I won’t try to cover the talks and discussions live. While ‘live blogging’ has its place and seems to work for things like product […]

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Gravity, Impartiality & the Media

March 23, 2016

Marc Millis is once again in the media, this time interviewed by a BBC crew in a show about controlling gravity. The impetus is an undertaking I described in the first chapter of Frontiers of Propulsion Science, Project Greenglow. The former head of NASA’s Breakthrough Propulsion Physics project and founding architect of the Tau Zero […]

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TVIW 2016: Homo Stellaris Working Track

March 22, 2016

Herewith the first of several reports on the recent Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop; more next week. It comes from Doug Loss, who was a participant in the Homo Stellaris working track I had hoped to attend before illness changed my plans. An experienced network and IT security administrator, Doug attended and eventually organized The Asimov […]

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Making Centauri Dreams Reality, Virtually

March 18, 2016

I often think about virtual reality and the prospect of immersive experience of distant worlds using data returned by our probes. But what of the state of virtual reality today, a technology that is suddenly the talk of the computer world with the imminent release of the Oculus Rift device? Frank Taylor is just the […]

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StarSearch: Our Hunt for a New Home World

March 14, 2016

His interest fired by an interview with interstellar researcher Greg Matloff, Dale Tarnowieski became fascinated with the human future in deep space. One result is the piece that follows, an essay that feeds directly into a recent wish of mine. I had been struck by how many people coming to Centauri Dreams are doing so […]

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