September 2013

Voyager in Perspective

September 30, 2013

Joseph Green worked for 37 years in the American space program, retiring from NASA as Deputy Chief of the Education Office at Kennedy Space Center. His specialty was preparing NASA fact sheets, brochures and other semi-technical publications for the general public, explaining complex scientific and engineering concepts in layman’s language. Joe is the author of […]

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100YSS: Building Tomorrow’s Instruments

September 27, 2013

The timing of the announcement that Voyager 1 has, for some time now, been an interstellar spacecraft came just before the 100 Year Starship Symposium and was certainly in everyone’s thoughts during the event. Jeffrey Nosanov (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) reminded a Saturday morning session led by Jill Tarter that when the Voyager program was conceived, […]

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Time, Distance and Hybrid Engineering

September 26, 2013

One of the things I admire most about Eric Davis is his seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy. The man is constantly in motion. Davis (Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin) is active in both the Tau Zero Foundation and in Icarus Interstellar, and deeply involved in the propulsion community at numerous conferences, all in addition […]

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Starting Up an Interstellar Civilization

September 25, 2013

Broadening the interstellar community through public engagement is something Centauri Dreams is all about, so I try to keep my eyes on emerging tools that support that effort. On that score, the 100 Year Starship Symposium in Dallas was provocative. John Carter McKnight (Arizona State University) was chair for the track “Becoming An Interstellar Civilization: […]

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100 Year Starship: Crossing the Disciplines

September 24, 2013

The 100 Year Starship Symposium forces an interesting conversation simply by virtue of its name. I learned this yet again this morning when I met a neighbor out walking his dog. He knew I had been in Houston and that the subject was space travel, but he assumed we must have been talking about Mars. […]

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New Horizons: Surprise in Houston

September 23, 2013

There is much to say about the 100 Year Starship Symposium in Houston, and as I have done with prior conferences, I will be drawing on my notes in the coming weeks. But I want to start the Houston coverage with the good news that emerged from the outer Solar System. Some time back, Jon […]

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100 Year Starship Symposium: Arrival

September 18, 2013

My flight to Houston for the 100 Year Starship Symposium was complicated by aircraft maintenance problems, two switched flights and lost baggage (due in tonight), but I’m now ensconced in the hotel room, from which I just snapped the photo below. I’m 26 stories up and plan to go higher (to the rooftop restaurant) in […]

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Alien Civilisations: Two Competing Models

September 18, 2013

by Stephen Ashworth Being a jazz buff (the 1950s and early 1960s are my era of choice) I naturally note that frequent Centauri Dreams commenter and contributor Stephen Ashworth is a tenor sax man who regularly plays in venues near and around Oxford in the UK. Stephen is also, of course, an insightful writer on […]

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Comet Impacts and the Origin of Life

September 17, 2013

It was back in 2010 that Nir Goldman (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) first predicted that the impact of a comet on the early Earth could produce potential life-building compounds like amino acids. Goldman was using computer simulations to make the call, studying molecular dynamics under the conditions of such impacts. He found that the shock […]

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August 25, 2012: Interstellar at Last

September 16, 2013

Tracking Voyager 1 outbound for the past decade has been at times anti-climactic. Had the spacecraft reached interstellar space or hadn’t it, and how exactly would we know? The announcement last week that the milestone has been reached will forever mark August 25, 2012 as the date when a human-built object, still returning data, made […]

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