A New Year Awaits

by Paul Gilster on December 31, 2012

I’ve gotten so used to thinking ‘maybe this will be the year when the first Alpha Centauri planet is discovered’ that I almost said it again about 2013. Fortunately, we already have a (still unconfirmed) Centauri B b, and the latest I’ve heard is that it may take five years or so before we can say something definitive about a planet in a habitable zone orbit around our neighboring system. So the coming year may not be the year of Alpha Centauri, but we can expect exoplanet news in abundance as the various teams continue their work, and plenty of activity from the organizations now working to advance the idea of interstellar flight through papers, conferences and commentary. Let me wish all Centauri Dreams readers the best for a dazzling new trip around the Sun.

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{ 11 comments }

Josh Haigh December 31, 2012 at 16:50

“A dazzling new trip around the Sun”! That’s excellent Paul. I’m going to pinch it!
Thanks for all your hard work on the site, it is much appreciated. It is the only blog where I read everything on it. I have recommended this blog to many other people. We grow (slowly, but we grow). I look forward to reading about the new discoveries that that this dazzling new trip around the Sun will bring!

coacervate December 31, 2012 at 17:39

I want to take this op to say Thanks to you and the people who comment here. Best wishes to all.

I’m nobody in this clique. Compared to the minds “at play” here that is. So it is a rare delight to come here when I can find a few moments. In fact my N/Y resolution is to make time for CD regularly.

I believe that thoughtful people are becoming increasingly aware that the way ahead is on a path that includes positive intellectual advances. We must come to accept that going to the stars is our destiny, else we may have no destiny at all. I can’t think of a better, more eloquent “Star-team” than the one found here. This candle in the darkness. Gosh I’ve waxed lyrical. And yet i insist, tis my tongue and not the tincture talking :)

LG December 31, 2012 at 19:31

Indeed! Have a great 2013 and keep up the great work!

Eniac December 31, 2012 at 22:40

Best wishes to all for the new year, and may Paul see it fit to continue this truly stellar blog exactly as is. During this new year, and countless more to come.

Ronald December 31, 2012 at 22:55

Happy, healthy and fruitful new year to you Paul, and to all participants on this, my favorite, website.

Keep up the good work.

Maybe this will be the year when a first truly earthlike planet in the habitable zone of a sunlike star is discovered.

GaryChurch January 1, 2013 at 1:52

Thanks for allowing me to express my opinions Paul.
Happy New Year!

dad2059 January 1, 2013 at 11:04

Centauri Dreams has been part of my morning routine for almost eight years. It’s hard to imagine my day starting without it. May you have many more years with it Paul and the regular commenters too. I hope the dream of a mission to Alpha Centauri becomes fact and it takes its baby steps this year.

Happy New Earth Orbit All!

Wojciech J January 1, 2013 at 14:06

Hopefully this year will bring new exciting discoveries. I hope the blog here will continue to prove a source of interesting information and discussions as it was last year.
Two events that I can think that we can look forward this year, is the upcoming new release from Kepler(already in a week or so) and launch of Gaia telescope.
I also hope that the discoveries will boost chances of proposals for exoplanet oriented space telescope mission regarding our closest neighborhood.

jkittle January 2, 2013 at 10:34

Happy new year.. as the days begin to grow longer in the northern hemisphere, and We all take stock . It has been a great year for me. CD has been very important for me over the past few years , and was a useful outlet during some darker days a few years ago. My only firm prediction is that this year will startle us all, and I belive will be a year of rebirth for space exploration. more kepler data, more star survey data, JWST and LSST inching toward first light. and on Mars, it is DRILL BABY , DRILL!
Thanks Paul for all your patience and I believe the truth will out.
I leave you with a thought. Most extra terrestrial civilizations may be based on herbivores, with intelligent carnivores unable to build solid social structures due to the inability to overcome the barriers to agriculture development ( apologies to Larry Niven) . We may be rare among intelligent beings, with our omnivore lifestyle.. Perhaps the development of one intelligent species makes it harder for other such species to evolve in the same ecosystem. Thus other star systems with rare intelligence are populated by non- expansionist Herbivores- another filter for the Drake equation.. The question is .. are we expansionist enough?

ljk January 2, 2013 at 12:17

As one hopeful sign for this new year, the cover story for the January, 2013 issue of National Geographic Magazine is on interstellar vessels:

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/01/space-exploration/folger-text

A quote:

Why did it seem more reasonable half a century ago? “Of course we were crazy in a way,” says physicist Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

In the late 1950s Dyson worked on Project Orion, which aimed to build a manned spacecraft that could go to Mars and the moons of Saturn. Instead of using nuclear reactors to spew superheated hydrogen, as NERVA did, the Orion spacecraft would have dropped small nuclear bombs out the back every quarter of a second or so and surfed on the fireballs.

“It would have been enormously risky,” says Dyson, who planned to go to Saturn himself. “We were prepared for that. The mood then was totally different. The idea of a risk-free adventure just didn’t make sense.” A few years after Orion ended, Dyson outlined in Physics Today how a bomb-powered spacecraft might travel to a star.

http://press.nationalgeographic.com/2012/12/12/magazine-january-201/

Etienne January 3, 2013 at 3:38

Greetings from France, happy new Earth orbit to all and thank you Paul for Centauri Dreams, that I have been reading with pleasure for a long time! I recommended it to several people over here, most of them from the french chapter of the Mars Society

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