Culture and Society

Making the Case for Deep Space

January 19, 2015

I get few questions that are harder to answer than ‘what happened to the sense of adventure that we once had with Apollo?’ And there are few questions I get more often, usually accompanied by ‘how are we going to do starflight if we don’t even have the will to go back to the Moon?’ […]

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Happy New Year from Centauri Dreams

December 31, 2014

And for those of you who’ve been asking about the videos of presentations at the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop, they’re now online. 2015, with New Horizons at Pluto/Charon and Dawn at Ceres, is shaping up to be an extraordinary year. Here’s to the continuing effort to advance the human and robotic effort in deep space.

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Have a Wonderful Holiday

December 24, 2014

I’m cooking all afternoon in anticipation of a family dinner tonight. The first fruits of my labors are in the photo below. I cultivated the sourdough starter I use for this bread three years ago — over the years, it has really developed some punch, and produces a fine, aromatic loaf. My afternoon now turns […]

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Interstellar: Herald to the Stars or a Siren’s Song?

December 19, 2014

Not long after I published my thoughts on Chris Nolan’s film Interstellar, Centauri Dreams regular Larry Klaes weighed in with his own take. Views on Interstellar have been all over the map, no surprise given how personal film criticism can be (take a look at the critical reception of Bladerunner over the years). I like […]

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Why Interstellar Matters

December 10, 2014

My friend Frank Taylor was in town over the Thanksgiving holiday, having flown in from South Africa. With his wife Karen, Frank has spent the years since 2009 circumnavigating the globe aboard a 50-foot catamaran called Tahina, an adventure chronicled with spectacular photography on the Tahina Expedition blog. I highly recommend the site for anyone […]

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The Interstellar Imperative

December 5, 2014

What trajectory will our civilization follow as we move beyond our first tentative steps into space? Nick Nielsen returns to Centauri Dreams with thoughts on multi-generational projects and their roots in the fundamental worldview of their time. As the inspiring monuments of the European Middle Ages attest, a civilizational imperative can express itself through the […]

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Rosetta: Building Momentum for Deep Space?

November 24, 2014

Even though its arrival on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko did not go as planned, the accomplishment of the Rosetta probe is immense. We have a probe on the surface that was able to collect 57 hours worth of data before going into hibernation, and a mother ship that will stay with the comet as […]

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Slingshot to the Stars

November 21, 2014

Back in the 1970s, Peter Glaser patented a solar power satellite that would supply energy from space to the Earth, one involving space platforms whose cost was one of many issues that put the brakes on the idea, although NASA did revisit the concept in the 1980’s and 90’s. But changing technologies may help us […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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