June 2011

100 Year Starship Study: Call for Papers

June 15, 2011

We’re keeping a close eye on the 100 Year Starship Study, and with the call for papers for its upcoming conference just issued, I want to run this verbatim. Addendum: The DARPA teleconference for the 100 Year Starship Study ended about 1215 EST. I’m compiling my notes and should have something up about it either […]

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100 Year Starship Study Public Symposium

June 15, 2011

The 100 Year Starship Study being developed through DARPA and NASA Ames now has its Web site up, from which the following: DARPA and NASA are jointly planning the 100 Year Starship Study Symposium that will be held from September 30 through October 2, 2011 in Orlando, FL. The goal of the symposium is to […]

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CoRoT’s New Planets

June 15, 2011

Although we talk about space-based observatories ‘discovering’ planets, the actual process is much more complex. Data from CoRoT, for example, must be validated carefully to make sure that what is being observed is actually a planet. That means turning to follow-up observations by ground-based telescopes, so that the whole package of photometric and spectroscopic data […]

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Asimov’s Vesta and Ours

June 14, 2011

With the Dawn spacecraft on its approach to Vesta, I’ve been scouting around for science fiction that involves this interesting asteroid. The one story that stands out is famous for its author more than its quality. It’s “Marooned Off Vesta,” which turns out to be Isaac Asimov’s first published story. John Campbell rejected it at […]

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The Froth at System’s Edge

June 13, 2011

Our Voyager spacecraft are in a fascinating place indeed, where the stream of charged particles flowing out from the Sun — the solar wind — bumps up against what we might call the ‘interstellar wind,’ the tenuous material expelled from other stars in our neighborhood. We’ve looked at the solar wind’s possibilities for propulsion many […]

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Geoff Marcy: Mission to Alpha Centauri

June 10, 2011

The Tau Zero Foundation is pleased to announce that planet hunter extraordinaire Geoffrey Marcy is now affiliated with the organization. As a Tau zero practitioner, Dr. Marcy will serve as a major point of contact on exoplanet issues, bringing with him the most storied portfolio in the planet-hunting business. Working closely with Paul Butler and […]

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Long: Toward an Interstellar Institute

June 8, 2011

Today we continue with responses to the Request for Information from the 100 Year Starship study. Kelvin Long is senior designer and co-founder of Project Icarus, the ambitious attempt to design a fusion starship. A joint project of the British Interplanetary Society and the Tau Zero Foundation, Project Icarus takes its inspiration from the original […]

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Planetary Migration and a Smaller Mars

June 7, 2011

I’m sometimes asked why I write so seldom about Mars, a very interesting place indeed. The answer is that so many excellent sites are out there tracking events on the planet that I’m happy to keep my focus on the outer system and the starry gulf beyond. But now and then Mars news interrelates with […]

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100 Year Starship Study: A Response

June 6, 2011

by Marc Millis “The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has initiated a study to inspire the first steps in the next era of space exploration—a journey between the stars.” So reads the Request for Information document (RFI) that DARPA released recently, seeking ideas for organization, business model and approach for a self-sustaining investment vehicle […]

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CASCA: GJ 581 and More

June 3, 2011

Canada’s MOST space telescope (Microvariability & Oscillations of STars) has been used to put some constraints on the super-Earth GJ 581e. The work was discussed at this week’s meeting of the Canadian Astronomical Society in Ontario. Planet e is the innermost world among the multiple planets orbiting the star, and the least massive (with a […]

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