June 2013

Catching Up with FOCAL

June 28, 2013

Michael Chorost has written a fine essay on Claudio Maccone’s FOCAL mission concept for The New Yorker blog. Centauri Dreams regulars will know Chorost from several previous posts here, particularly a discussion on SETI that I talked about in On Cosmic Isolation, where he analyzed the hunt for extraterrestrial civilizations in terms of problems of […]

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Asteroids in our Future

June 27, 2013

NASA has released an Asteroid Initiative Request for Information on the issue of asteroid retrieval. It’s an interesting document both in its audience — the agency is making a point about soliciting comments not only from academics, scientists and engineers but the general public — but also because of the issues it explores. Being sought […]

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Philosophy, Intention and GJ 667C

June 26, 2013

The star Gliese 667C is as intriguing as it is because it underlines in triplicate the ‘habitability’ question, which surfaces every time a planet is discovered in a zone around its star where liquid water could exist on the surface. This is the classic definition of ‘habitable zone,’ meaning not so much a place where […]

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Gliese 667C: Three Habitable Zone Planets

June 25, 2013

Gliese 667C keeps getting more interesting. In the past we’ve looked at studies of this star in a triple system just 22 light years away, work that had identified three planets around the star. As one of these was in the habitable zone, this small red dwarf (about a third of the Sun’s mass) quickly […]

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Centaurs and their Implications

June 24, 2013

One of the themes I often use in my talks is the ‘filling out’ of our picture of the Solar System. In addition to the asteroid belt, we’ve added the icy bodies of the Kuiper Belt and the vast expanse of the Oort Cloud into what once seemed a relatively simple, nine-planet solar system. I […]

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Interstellar Visioneers

June 21, 2013

What does it take to conceive a new vision of the future and drive the idea forward? Keith Cooper, editor of Astronomy Now as well as Principium, the journal of the Institute for Interstellar Studies, examines the question in the context of a new book. Grand ideas aren’t enough, for the commitment to build community […]

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On Memory and Destinations

June 20, 2013

There was a time when people collected old photographs in drawers and photo albums, a time before the digital age when you wasted three or four shots getting just the one you wanted, and the perishability of film was born home every time you saw colors fading on an old image. Yesterday I browsed through […]

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Exoplanet Targets in Nearby Space

June 18, 2013

I’m a coffee fanatic. Not only do I drink a lot of the stuff, but I roast my own beans and love fiddling with roasting times and fan speeds, trying to hit exactly the right note. And with a just-brewed carafe of Burundi by my side this morning, it’s natural enough that I would be […]

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Starship Century, Part Two

June 16, 2013

Adam Crowl concludes his discussion of the recent Starship Century conference in San Diego. Videos from the session are now becoming available online. by Adam Crowl Lunch at the Starship Century Symposium was provided by UCSD, allowing attendees to remain nearby, adding to the discussion and trading of ideas and concerns. Certainly I appreciated the […]

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Report from Starship Century

June 14, 2013

We’re fortunate to have had Centauri Dreams regular Adam Crowl not just as an attendee but a speaker at the recent Starship Century symposium in San Diego. Here Adam, in the first of a two-part report, gives us a look at the speakers and their ideas. With regards to comments, please note: In the last […]

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