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Starship Congress Registration Opens

Our friends at Icarus Interstellar continue working on this summer’s conference. Just in from my son Miles is news about the opening of registration for the Dallas event.

Registration for the 2013 Starship Congress, hosted by Icarus Interstellar, is now open. The registration fee is $100; however, the first 25 paid registrations receive a $25 discount. This discount is also available to individuals who sign up by May 2nd, 2013. Students can register for a reduced rate of $50. Students must present a valid student I.D. at the Starship Congress to take advantage of the student rate. The $25 discount does not apply to student registrations. Group rates are also available. An optional lunch is offered for August 15, 16 and 17 for $25.

The Starship Congress will be held August 15-18 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas. A discounted rate for Starship Congress attendees is available at the Hilton Anatole from August 12-20. To book a room at the special rate, click here.

Richard Obousy, President and Senior Scientist for Icarus Interstellar, provided Centauri Dreams readers with a preview of the Starship Congress, which you can read here. For any questions, contact registration@icarusinterstellar.org.

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  • ljk April 29, 2013, 11:04

    2013 Starship Congress Speaker Announcement – Dr Harold “Sonny” White: “Warp Field Physics: An Update”

    by Icarus Interstellar admin – blog post

    Dr. Harold “Sonny” White has over 15 years of aerospace industry experience with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and NASA. He currently serves as the Advanced Propulsion Theme Lead for the NASA Engineering Directorate and is the JSC representative to the Nuclear Systems Working Group. He is also pursuing theoretical and laboratory research on developing lower TRL advanced propulsion and power technologies in the advanced propulsion physics laboratory known as Eagleworks, located at JSC.

    Dr. White’s talk “Warp Field Physics: An Update” will review the space warp energy optimization techniques and analysis findings presented at the 2012 100 Year Starship Symposium. He will reintroduce and discuss an interferometer experiment identified in that talk and provide a status update of the experimental effort, along with a discussion of upcoming activities, and additional testing techniques and approaches. Finally, Dr. White will provide a modification of the original Matthew Jeffries XCV Enterprise artwork for the original Star Trek series, and discuss the differences to help articulate the math and physics findings at the beginning of the talk.

    He was recently featured in the April 2013 Popular Science article “Warp Factor”, focused on his work at Eagleworks, specifically on advanced concepts around faster-than-light travel.

    Full article here:

    http://www.icarusinterstellar.org/2013-starship-congress-speaker-announcement-dr-harold-sonny-white-warp-field-physics-an-update/

    So is he going to lift some of the secrecy that has been self-imposed around this project? Because Dr. White has got people thinking that NASA is working on a hush-hush warp drive project and soon we will have a Starship Enterprise for real.

    I do not care if the math works for a warp drive in theory. If the plan continues to hinge on what is called “exotic matter”, then warp drive will remain the stuff of fiction and fantasy.

    Has anyone explained exactly what “exotic matter” is? If it is dark matter or negative matter or a black hole, then we can forget this happening any time soon. Shrinking inaccessible material from the size of Jupiter down to the dimensions of a Voyager space probe are not going to change things.

    My big concern is that this will take away from realistic and more immediate interstellar propulsion methods. Serious speculation is fine and obviously I will be very happy if warp drive ever actually succeeds, but focusing on it at this stage tends to distract from what could be done now and makes interstellar studies groups look less distinguishable from a Star Trek convention. The latter could take away from properly funded and positioned folks from financially contributing to the effort.

  • Ron S April 29, 2013, 14:21

    ljk: “Has anyone explained exactly what “exotic matter” is?”

    In this context it is negative mass. That is, mass with a minus sign as used in the Einstein field equations.

    Your skepticism is justified. There are dynamical processes that, from a suitable reference frame, give the appearance of negative mass (esp. Hawking radiation effectively adds negative mass to a black hole, which allows it to “evaporate”), there is no particle with a negative rest mass, nor is it expected to exist for any reasonable theory. It is simply postulated that if it did exist it could, perhaps, be used in interesting ways.

  • GaryChurch April 30, 2013, 3:01

    “-makes interstellar studies groups look less distinguishable from a Star Trek convention.”

    FTL? Puh-leez.
    Bomb propulsion now, freezing people soon, beam propulsion in decades,and small black hole factories sometime in the next century. These are the only worthwhile topics IMO.
    But I understand it is pretty hard to get anyone to come without offering up brain candy. Sad.

  • Jean-Pierre Le Rouzic April 30, 2013, 6:05

    Hello,

    Even if there was negative matter or a convincing substitute, even if it’s was possible to create a kind of “space inflation” in a local volume, even if it is true that a small amount of mass could warp space in a perceptible way, and if all other problems found by many scientists were solved, it could be questionned if a Warp Drive is a smart idea.
    A Warp Drive is supposedly a means to travel very long distances in a short time, actually it offers no other factual/operational advantages than more classical spacecrafts.
    It still requires huge amounts of energy and does not solve issues such relativistic radiation or impacts due to the interstellar media. It is not known how it could be built, how could people go on board, how it could be ignited, steered and stopped at the end.
    With huge amount of energy a relativistic spacecraft would obtain the same result: Small travel time, making it possible to visit the whole galaxy (Thanks Poul Anderson!)
    A true difference between a Warp Drive and a relativistic rocket, is that in Alcubierre paper the travel time is also small for external, far away observers. For a relativistic spacecraft this is not true, people in other frames age much more than people on board (again see Poul Anderson). But Alcubierre does not explain how he comes to this result. This part of the paper is written as if there was a prefered reference frame: The one of the “Eulerian observers”. It’s as fuzzy as the rest of the paper.
    So a relativistic ion rocket is probably a much more serious thing to consider than a Warp drive.
    Perhaps this paper was not understood as it should have been, as a kind of convoluted joke by a smart young man. But as in Umberto Eco’s novel, the joke is taken seriously by too many people. In case of Alcubierre’s paper it’s not secret Templar societies that take the joke seriously but fans of old SF movies. It remains to see who of SF fans or conspiracy theorists are the more dangerous :-) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foucault%27s_Pendulum)

    Best regards,

    Jean-Pierre

  • ljk April 30, 2013, 11:24

    30 April 2013

    ** Contacts are listed below. **

    Text & Image:

    http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2013/04/30/is-antimatter-anti-gravity/

    IS ANTIMATTER ANTI-GRAVITY?

    Antimatter is strange stuff. It has the opposite electrical charge to normal matter and, when it meets its matter counterpart, the two annihilate in a flash of light.

    Four University of California, Berkeley, physicists are now asking whether matter and antimatter are also affected differently by gravity. Could antimatter fall upward — that is, exhibit anti-gravity — or fall downward at a different rate than normal matter?

    Almost everyone, including the physicists, thinks that antimatter will likely fall at the same rate as normal matter, but no one has ever dropped antimatter to see if this is true, said Joel Fajans, UC Berkeley professor of physics. And while there are many indirect indications that matter and antimatter weigh the same, they all rely on assumptions that might not be correct. A few theorists have argued that some cosmological conundrums, such as why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe, could be explained if antimatter did fall upward.

    In a new paper published online on April 30 in Nature Communications, the UC Berkeley physicists and their colleagues with the ALPHA experiment at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland, report the first direct measurement of gravity’s effect on antimatter, specifically antihydrogen in free fall. Though far from definitive — the uncertainty is about 100 times the expected measurement — the UC Berkeley experiment points the way toward a definitive answer to the fundamental question of whether matter falls up or down.

    “This is the first word, not the last,” Fajans. “We’ve taken the first steps toward a direct experimental test of questions physicists and nonphysicists have been wondering about for more than 50 years. We certainly expect antimatter to fall down, but just maybe we will be surprised.”

    Fajans and fellow physics professor Jonathan Wurtele employed data from the Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus (ALPHA) at CERN. The experiment captures antiprotons and combines them with antielectrons (positrons) to make antihydrogen atoms, which are stored and studied for a few seconds in a magnetic trap. Afterward, however, the trap is turned off and the atoms fall out. The two researchers realized that by analyzing how antihydrogen fell out of the trap, they could determine if gravity pulled on antihydrogen differently than on hydrogen.

    Antihydrogen did not behave weirdly, so they calculated that it cannot be more than 110 times heavier than hydrogen. If antimatter is anti-gravity — and they cannot rule it out — it doesn’t accelerate upward with more than 65 G’s.

    “We need to do better, and we hope to do so in the next few years,” Wurtele said. ALPHA is being upgraded and should provide more precise data once the experiment reopens in 2014.

    The paper was coauthored by other members of the ALPHA team, including UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow Andre Zhmoginov and lecturer Andrew Charman.

    PIO Contact:

    Bob Sanders
    +1 510-643-6998
    rlsanders@berkeley.edu

    Science Contacts:

    Joel Fajans
    +1 510-984 3601
    joel@physics.berkeley.edu

    Jonathan Wurtele
    +1 510-643-1575
    wurtele@berkeley.edu

    “Description and first application of a new technique to measure the gravitational mass of antihydrogen” (Nature Communications):

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms2787

    ALPHA experiment at CERN:

    http://alpha.web.cern.ch/

    CERN group traps antihydrogen for more than 16 minutes (press release, 5 June 2011):

    http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2011/06/05/cern-group-traps-antihydrogen-for-more-than-16-minutes/

  • David McCarroll May 5, 2013, 9:24

    No matter how you look at things, Dr Harold White seems to have a belief that the basic science and maths behind the Alcubierre drive actually work – I was at his talk at the 2012 100 Year Starship Symposium, and it was probably the most motivating seminar in the whole symposium – Dr White is quiet, unassuming and confident in his delivery of something that, should it prove workable, will change everything for the human race.

    Everything he presented was done within the classic boundaries of the scientific method – in fact, probably the most sceptical person of this was Dr White himself.

    So. It’s NOT science fiction. It’s BIG Science, but hey, that’s maybe what we need today in a world that really doesn’t seem to care much about where we go from here. A very inspiring talk – I hope everyone who attends his next talk feels the same way.