I had thought at the end of last year that 2017 would be a year of few conferences held by the various interstellar organizations. In fact, the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop was the only one I was sure would occur, a meeting I knew about because it was being held in partnership with the Tau Zero Foundation as well as Starship Century. Since then, we’ve had news of the Foundations of Interstellar Studies Workshop sponsored by the Initiative for Interstellar Studies. Background on these two, including details on registration and submitting papers, can be found in Interstellar Conference News.

Now the details of a late summer meeting to be held by Icarus Interstellar have emerged. Based on the group’s online description, this is to be the third in the Starship Congress meetings, the first of which I attended in Dallas in 2013. A second was held at Drexel University in Philadelphia in 2015.


Image: The 2013 Starship Congress in Dallas was a great meeting. In front at the far right, I am easy to spot because I am one of the few in the group shot wearing a light-colored jacket. It’s hard to make out the faces here, but I think that’s Pat Galea to my right, and my son Miles next to Pat. Rachel Armstrong is in front at the left, and although it’s too tricky to identify everyone, I do see Al Jackson, Jim Benford, Eric Davis, Phil Lubin and many other friends. Credit: Icarus Interstellar.

The focus of Starship Congress 2017 is to be the Moon, an unusual choice for a deep space organization, but Icarus asks a good question: “How can we hope to gain experience living, building and working off planet without systematically capitalizing on our nearest, most accessible celestial body?”

It’s a question with both near- and far-term resonances, for we’re also talking about more or less bypassing lunar resources and going straight for Mars, an idea that pulls me up short given our lack of knowledge about human physiology beyond low Earth orbit. We can study human factors in space-based laboratories, and I know that Robert Hampson (Wake Forest School of Medicine) continues to push for a dedicated facility to study biomedical matters outside Earth’s magnetosphere. But dedicated facilities on the Moon should be a part of this.

But let me give you the Icarus Interstellar view, in the form of the call for papers for Starship Congress 2017, reproduced here verbatim.


Screenshot from 2017-05-04 08-18-25

Call for Papers

If we want to see interstellar accomplishments in our lifetime we need a staging area in space and we need to be able to get our people and our machines up there.

We dedicate each day of our meeting to addressing actions towards making Space a Place for Everybody and welcome the community to submit papers/presentations for each of the following:

Day 1: The Moon as a Stepping Stone to the Stars (MOON):

  • Living on the Moon: Lunar city planning, lunar resources, construction, power, water, radiation shielding, living and working, economy, sociology.
  • Planetary, Deep Space and Interstellar exploration centered around the Moon: Spacecraft Shipyards, Lunar Space elevators, Planetary and Deep Space remote sensing Telescopes.

Day 2: Massive Space Access Project (MSAP) aka “Children in Space”:

  • Earth to Moon and back: transport vehicles and systems, global logistics, tourism, legal and safety considerations, military presence.
  • Children in Space: Space education, youth space education program, people with disabilities in space, when will we send the first child to space? (when children can go to the moon, everyone will want to go!)

Day 3: Massive Space Based Infrastructure (MSBI):

  • Space and Lunar Industry: Space stations, mining stations, space services, telecommunications, zero gravity and lunar gravity manufacturing technology development.
  • Space arts, sports, community and culture: everything not traditionally considered infrastructure, but which is necessary for humans to live, love and learn on the Moon and in space.

Submit abstracts to starshipcongress@icarusinterstellar.org by Monday, July 3rd, 2017. Papers will be approved on a rolling basis with the final agenda shared on Monday, July 10th, 2017.

Conference Registration

Register for Starship Congress 2017 here.

Hotel Registration

Starship Congress will be held at:

One Old Golf Course Rd, Monterey, CA 93940, USA
T +1.831.657.6541 Email: megan.whetton@hyatt.com


If you’re interested in presenting at the conference, abstracts can be submitted to starshipcongress@icarusinterstellar.org by Monday, July 3rd, 2017. Papers will be approved on a rolling basis with the final agenda shared on Monday, July 10th, 2017.