July 2012

Remembering Ary Sternfeld

July 17, 2012

Galileo Galilei makes a brief appearance in the news this morning with word that several copies of his books, including two examples of the Sidereus Nuncius, have turned out to be forgeries. The latter, whose title is usually translated as Starry Messenger, was the first scientific presentation on observations made with a telescope, and contains […]

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Detecting Exoplanet Oceans

July 16, 2012

Is the discovery of oceans on planets orbiting distant stars within our reach? Finding such an ocean would be of immense interest from an astrobiological perspective because water on the surface is the traditional marker for a habitable zone. Astrobiology Magazine has just written up work by Nicholas Cowan (Northwestern University) and colleagues, who have […]

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Pluto: Moons, Debris and New Horizons

July 13, 2012

When I was a boy, I became fascinated early on with the outer planets. The further out, the better as far as I was concerned, and as you might imagine, I had a special fascination with Pluto. In the summer, I used to haunt the library in the nearby suburb of Kirkwood (in St. Louis, […]

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Interstellar Flight Goes Mainstream

July 12, 2012

Paging back through Kelvin Long’s book Deep Space Propulsion (Springer, 2011) last night, I was reminded that Freeman Dyson had written about his disillusionment with nuclear pulse propulsion methods long after Project Orion was terminated. The passage is in his autobiographical account Disturbing the Universe (Basic, 1981), which caught Long’s attention and led him to […]

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An Interstellar Provocation

July 11, 2012

It had never occurred to me that there was something the Graf Zeppelin and the Saturn V had in common. Nonetheless, a re-reading of Freeman Dyson’s paper “Interstellar Transport” confirms the obvious connection: Like the great airships of the 1930s, the Saturn V was huge and carried a payload that was absurdly small. Dyson, writing […]

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Beginnings of the Interstellar Idea

July 10, 2012

My time off last week really was refreshing, although it coincided with the same heat wave that has kept the Eastern US under duress for many days now, especially dangerous for those who lost power because of severe storms. Fortunately, I used part of my time to fly to San Jose to participate in Steve […]

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Revealing The New Universe and a Shared Cosmology

July 9, 2012

By Larry Klaes Larry Klaes, a frequent Centauri Dreams contributor and commenter, here looks at a new book that explores humanity’s place in the cosmos. Is there a way to rise above our differences of outlook and perspective to embrace a common view of the universe? The stakes are high, for technology’s swift pace puts […]

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Summer Comes to Green Town

July 2, 2012

Summer in Green Town, Illinois back in 1928 opened like this: “It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed. Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing of the world was long and warm and slow. You had only to rise, lean […]

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