May 2013

SETI’s Colossus

May 31, 2013

For the most part, the focus of SETI since Project Ozma has been directed at intercepting signals deliberately sent our way. It doesn’t have to be so, of course, because extraneous signals from a civilization going about its business would also be profoundly interesting, and even a civilization not much more advanced than ours might […]

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Oceans Under the Ice Worlds?

May 30, 2013

One of the things we’re going to be looking for at Pluto is evidence of a sub-surface ocean. About eighteen months ago I wrote about the work of Guillaume Robuchon and Francis Nimmo (University of California at Santa Cruz). With Pluto’s outer surface thought to be a thin shell of nitrogen ice covering a shell […]

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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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Supporting Starship Congress

May 28, 2013

Following last week’s highly successful Starship Century conference, I’m looking forward to the Starship Congress coming up in August under the auspices of Icarus Interstellar. Be aware that there is a Kickstarter campaign now in place to support the event and the organization. From the description: Icarus Interstellar, a non-profit organization dedicated to achieving interstellar […]

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An Open Question on Priorities for Interstellar Efforts

May 28, 2013

At the 2012 100YSS Symposium, Heath Rezabek presented what he calls the ‘Vessel Archives’ proposal, a strategy for sustaining and conveying Earth’s cultural and biological heritage that was directly inspired by Gregory Benford’s Library of Life proposal (preprint available here). Heath tells me his major concern is in “improving the prospects for Earth-originating life through […]

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Star Trek, Star Tech

May 24, 2013

Tau Zero’s founding architect (and the former head of NASA’s Breakthrough Propulsion Physics project) weighs in on the kind of technology we see in the new Star Trek movie and ponders what it would take to make at least some of it real. by Marc Millis Another Star Trek film just hit the screen – […]

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Posting Problems

May 18, 2013

Marc Millis’ article “Star Trek, Star Tech,” posted on Friday, has been taken down temporarily due to server problems that are now being investigated. As soon as I get these ongoing site maintenance issues resolved, the article will be reposted.

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The Enzmann Solution

May 16, 2013

Yesterday I remarked on how many more tools for exoplanet discovery we have today than were available to Harry Stine when he wrote “A Program for Star Flight” in 1973. That same day came the disheartening news that the Kepler mission has been stopped in its tracks by an equipment malfunction. But take heart — […]

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Harry Stine: Building the Infrastructure

May 15, 2013

Before getting started on today’s post, a reminder that Tau Zero founder Marc Millis and I will be among those interviewed on the History Channel show Star Trek: Secrets of the Universe tonight at 10 PM Eastern US time (0200 UTC on Thursday). Many of the ideas discussed on that show parallel those found in […]

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A Program for Star Flight

May 14, 2013

We become so bedazzled by the assumptions of our time that we can forget how things looked in different eras. 1973 wasn’t all that many years ago in the cosmic scheme of things, but the early ‘70s were a time of surprising optimism when it came to our future in space. As we saw yesterday, […]

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