Culture and Society

Loretta Jackson Delong (1948-2016)

December 7, 2016

I was saddened to learn through Tau Zero Foundation CEO Rhonda Stevenson of the recent death of Loretta Jackson Delong. Stevenson issued this statement The Tau Zero Foundation extends its sincerest condolences to Dan DeLong, the XCOR and Agile families for the great loss of Loretta Jackson Delong. She was a pioneer from the start, […]

Read the full article →

Visualizing the Alien: A Hollywood Conundrum

December 1, 2016

Aliens used to look more or less like humans in the films of the 1950s. Think Michael Rennie in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), a polished alien presence if there ever was one. We got humanoid aliens with strange powers or technologies, like Jeff Morrow playing Exeter in This Island Earth (1955) — […]

Read the full article →

The Starship in our Future

November 23, 2016

The relentless expansion implicit in the Kardashev scale ranks civilizations according to their use of power, with the notion that there is an upward movement from exploiting the energy resources of a planet to the entire home star and then on to the galaxy (Type III). Hence the interest in trying to observe civilizations that […]

Read the full article →

Your Choice of Starships

November 14, 2016

Think fast. You’ve only got a day or so to work on this. You’ve been asked to come up with a plausible way of getting a fictional crew from one star to another, but laser sails and fusion rockets won’t do. The target might be thousands of light years away, so you have to be […]

Read the full article →

Star Trek Plus Fifty

September 9, 2016

The founder of the Tau Zero Foundation takes a look at the promise of Star Trek, and asks where we stand with regard to the many technologies depicted in the series. My own first memory of Star Trek is seeing a first year episode and realizing only a few days later that it had been […]

Read the full article →

Interstellar Comparisons

July 1, 2016

No one thinks big better than Adam Crowl, a Centauri Dreams regular and mainstay of the Icarus Interstellar attempt to reconfigure the Project Daedalus starship design of the 1970’s. If you’re looking for ideas for science fiction stories, you’ll find them in the essay below, where Adam considers the uses to which we might put […]

Read the full article →

The Use of Extraterrestrial Resources to Facilitate Space Science and Exploration

June 10, 2016

We get to the stars one step at a time, or as the ever insightful Lao Tzu put it long ago, ​”You accomplish the great task by a series of small acts.” Right now, of course, many of the necessary ‘acts’ seem anything but small, but as Ian Crawford explains below, they’re a necessary part […]

Read the full article →

Interstellar Flight in Congressional Report

May 26, 2016

I hadn’t planned the conjunction of the Breakthrough Starshot forum’s opening here on Centauri Dreams and the interesting news out of the NASA budget for 2017, but some things just fall into your lap. In any case, what happened in Washington makes a nice follow-up to yesterday’s post, considering that it calls up visions of […]

Read the full article →

Breakthrough Starshot: ‘Challenges’ Forum Opens

May 25, 2016

Ever since coming back from the Breakthrough Discuss meeting in Palo Alto, I have been pondering the enormous issues the Breakthrough Starshot project will encounter. Getting a tiny spacecraft up to twenty percent of lightspeed is only the beginning of an effort that has to deal with power generation, a phased laser array of enormous […]

Read the full article →

Towards Producing Food in Space: ESA’s MELiSSA and NASA’s VEGGIE

May 20, 2016

Before we can go to the stars we’ll need to build a robust infrastructure in our own Solar System. While most attention seems to be devoted to propulsion issues, I’m convinced that an equally critical question is how we can create and sustain closed-loop life support systems for such missions. Our point man on this […]

Read the full article →