Research Tools

New Title on Gravitational Focus Mission

May 7, 2009

Claudio Maccone’s new book is out, an extension and re-analysis of the material in two earlier titles that examined the author’s innovative ideas on deep space systems. Maccone is best known to Centauri Dreams readers as the major proponent of a mission to the Sun’s gravitational focus where, at 550 AU and beyond, a spacecraft […]

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Two Important New Texts

December 8, 2008

Caleb Scharf is director of the Columbia Astrobiology Center and author of a new book I intended to mention in Saturday’s Notes & Queries section before running out of time. I want to be sure to insert it now, because if you’re getting serious about the study of astrobiology, you’ll want to know about this […]

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An Interstellar Talk (and More) Online

October 20, 2008

Few places on Earth please me more than the Scottish highlands, to the point that I used to daydream about moving to Inverness (this was before that city’s population explosion, back when it weighed in at a sedate 50,000 inhabitants). But I’ll take anywhere in Scotland, and when I realized I wouldn’t be able to […]

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Open Courseware: Self-Study and Space

September 6, 2008

I’m a great believer in the open courseware concept that MIT has done so much to promote. The idea is to do away with the password-protected gatekeeper function that so many university and college Web sites impose, opening access to those course materials an instructor chooses to put online. Some 1800 courses in 33 different […]

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Online Research: Narrowing the Possibilities?

August 13, 2008

I want to take a momentary detour from interstellar topics to talk about how we go about doing research, astronomical and otherwise. Some years back I debated the then new trend of online peer review with an opponent who argued for the virtues of traditional print journals and their methods. At the time, what would […]

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Living Off the Land in Space (review)

September 17, 2007

By Bernd Henschenmacher In Living off the Land in Space, Gregory Matloff, Les Johnson and artist C. Bangs discuss how mankind may colonize the Solar System and travel to nearby stars using energy and material resources provided by nature. The whole book is devoted to the ‘Living off the Land’ concept, which is introduced in […]

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More on NIAC’s Closure

July 3, 2007

NASA’s Institute for Advanced Concepts has now announced that its operations will cease on August 31st of this year. Director Robert Cassanova takes justifiable pride in the Institute’s accomplishments, and I want to quote from the letter he and associate director Diana Jennings posted on the NIAC site the other day: Since its beginning in […]

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Exoplanet Presentations Now Online

December 6, 2006

A note from Ian Jordan (Space Telescope Science Institute) passes along the welcome news that presentations and webcasts from last week’s Astrophysics Enabled by the Return to the Moon 2006 workshop at STScI have been posted online (available here). There’s plenty to dig into here, but of specific note for exoplanet research are the presentations […]

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The Question of Arecibo

November 17, 2006

The recent National Science Foundation report recommending scaling back support for the Arecibo radio telescope raises eyebrows here. Arecibo has just been instrumental in identifying the near-Earth asteroid 1999 KW4 as a binary, one that provides useful information about the mass, shape and density of its components and hence about near-Earth asteroids in general. That’s […]

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Simulating Exoplanets, and the Payoff

October 11, 2006

Just how representative are the 200+ planets we have now found around other stars? Consider that the most frequently used detection method involves radial velocity searches, looking for the tiny wobbles in a star’s motion that provide clues to the gravitational presence of a planet. It’s a solid technique that has found numerous ‘hot Jupiters,’ […]

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