Missions

Optimal Worldship Populations

April 8, 2014

Although we tend to focus on propulsion as the major obstacle to reaching another star, the biological problems that go along with journeys lasting decades or even centuries are equally daunting. If we could devise methods that would get us to Alpha Centauri within a century, we’d still face the need to keep a crew […]

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From Brown Dwarfs to NEOWISE

December 23, 2013

I will admit to an obsession with small, dim stars, one that goes far enough to take in those not-quite stars called brown dwarfs, objects too small to ignite hydrogen fusion. The WISE mission showed us that, at least in our Sun’s neighborhood, brown dwarfs aren’t as common as we once thought, with perhaps one […]

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The Stars in their Courses

December 2, 2013

Here’s hoping Centauri Dreams readers in the States enjoyed a restful Thanksgiving holiday, though with travel problems being what they are, I often find holidays can turn into high-stress drama unless spent at home. Fortunately, I was able to do that and, in addition to a wonderful meal with my daughter’s family, spent the rest […]

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The Star as Starship

November 25, 2013

Moving entire stars rather than building spaceships would have certain benefits as a way of traveling through the galaxy. After all, it would mean taking your local environment with you on a millennial journey. Some have suggested it might therefore be an observable sign of highly advanced civilizations at work. But how would you move […]

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Two Ways to the Stars

November 18, 2013

I often cite Robert Forward’s various statements to the effect that “Travel to the stars is difficult but not impossible.” Forward’s numerous papers drove the point home by examining star travel through the lens of known physics, conceiving of ways that an advanced civilization capable of the engineering could build an interstellar infrastructure. But while […]

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Voyager in Perspective

September 30, 2013

Joseph Green worked for 37 years in the American space program, retiring from NASA as Deputy Chief of the Education Office at Kennedy Space Center. His specialty was preparing NASA fact sheets, brochures and other semi-technical publications for the general public, explaining complex scientific and engineering concepts in layman’s language. Joe is the author of […]

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August 25, 2012: Interstellar at Last

September 16, 2013

Tracking Voyager 1 outbound for the past decade has been at times anti-climactic. Had the spacecraft reached interstellar space or hadn’t it, and how exactly would we know? The announcement last week that the milestone has been reached will forever mark August 25, 2012 as the date when a human-built object, still returning data, made […]

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Project Persephone

September 6, 2013

Rachel Armstrong’s presentation at Starship Congress so impressed me that I was quick to ask her to offer it here. I’m delighted to say that it will be only the first of what will become regular appearances in these pages. Much could be said about this visionary thinker, but here are some basics: Dr. Armstrong […]

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The Angle on Pluto

May 29, 2013

The progress of New Horizons through the outer Solar System has me thinking back to Voyager’s great encounters. In 1986, when Voyager 2 whisked past Uranus, I was about to head off for a weekend of intensive work as a flight instructor — a client we had contracted with had a large number of pilots […]

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Voyager: Looking Backward and Forward

March 21, 2013

The Voyager spacecraft have run into their share of problems as they move toward true interstellar space, but on the whole their continued operations have been a testament to what well designed equipment can do. Voyager 2’s camera platform locked for a time not long after the Saturn flyby but controllers were able to restore […]

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