August 2011

Worldships: A Interview with Greg Matloff

August 17, 2011

The first conference devoted solely to worldships takes place today in London at the headquarters of the British Interplanetary Society. It seemed a good time to check in with Gregory Matloff, a man I described when writing Centauri Dreams (the book) as the ‘renaissance man of interstellar studies.’ Perhaps best known for his continuing work […]

Read the full article →

Report on the 2011 Mars Society Annual Convention

August 16, 2011

by Richard Obousy After a stint as project leader for the Project Icarus starship design study, Richard Obousy now serves as Module Lead Primary Propulsion for the effort. Dr. Obousy’s doctoral work at Baylor University focused on the possibility that dark energy could be an artifact of Casimir energy in extra dimensions. For Icarus, he […]

Read the full article →

Heinlein and the 100 Year Starship Study

August 15, 2011

Anyone who looks back on Robert Heinlein’s ‘juvenile’ novels, twelve books written for young adults between 1947 and 1958, as inspiration for his current work gets my attention. I loved every one of those novels, particularly Citizen of the Galaxy (1957) and Starman Jones (1953), but David Neyland says it was Time for the Stars […]

Read the full article →

Studying the Darkest World

August 12, 2011

A planet orbiting the star GSC 03549-02811, about 750 light years away in direction of the constellation Draco, is showing us a new way of extracting information about a distant system. The planet is a gas giant called TrES-2b, discovered by the Trans-Atlantic Exoplanet Survey in 2006. Studying the star using data from Kepler observations […]

Read the full article →

New Evidence for Life’s Precursors in Space

August 11, 2011

Is there a ‘goldilocks’ class of meteorite, one in which we can say that conditions were just right for producing the stuff of life? That’s one of the conclusions scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center are reaching by studying samples taken from twelve carbon-rich meteorites, nine of them recovered from Antarctica. Their evidence shows […]

Read the full article →

Antimatter Source Near the Earth

August 10, 2011

Now that NASA’s Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) is back in business, I’m reminded that it was through NIAC studies that both Gerald Jackson and James Bickford introduced the possibility of harvesting antimatter rather than producing it in huge particle accelerators. The idea resonates at a time when the worldwide output of antimatter is measured […]

Read the full article →

Icarus Eyes Interstellar Symposium

August 9, 2011

The Project Icarus team has founded a non-profit research organization called Icarus Interstellar, its goal being to ‘foster research into those necessary technologies which can make interstellar research a reality’ through the study of such topics as fusion, nanotechnology, advanced power sources and other critical drivers for interstellar flight. We’ve tracked Icarus here from the […]

Read the full article →

Juno: Into the Jovian Magnetosphere

August 8, 2011

The launch of the Juno spacecraft last Friday gets us back in business around the Solar System’s largest planet, but also has useful exoplanet implications. To understand why, consider just one of the instruments carried aboard the spacecraft. The Jupiter Energetic-particle Detector Instrument (JEDI) is designed to measure how energetic particles flow through Jupiter’s magnetosphere […]

Read the full article →

Musings on Imperfection (and an Update)

August 5, 2011

by Marc Millis It occurred to me, after I wrote the post on impartiality and read the resulting comments , that a few other perspectives need to be shared. These encompass the necessity of inspiring visions, playfulness, complimentary contrasts, and tolerance for imperfection. And following that, I realized it was about time for another status […]

Read the full article →

BIS Conference Highlights Worldships

August 4, 2011

Talking about Mason Peck’s notions of ‘swarm’ spacecraft — probes on a chip that might reach interstellar speeds — I’m inescapably drawn to the other end of the spectrum. A ‘worldship’ is a mighty creation that may mass in the millions of tons, a kilometer (or more) long vehicle that moves at a small fraction […]

Read the full article →