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Wednesday July 11th 2012

‘Space’ Archives

Thoughts on the Square Kilometer Array

Thoughts on the Square Kilometer Array

We now know that the vast collection of radio dishes and antennae that will become the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) will be built on two sites, with the majority of dishes in Phase 1 (beginning in 2016) being constructed in South Africa, and further dishes added in Australia as the project develops. The SKA is to be a radio telescope of [...]

Impacts Spreading Life through the Cosmos?

Impacts Spreading Life through the Cosmos?

Still catching up after the recent series on antimatter propulsion, I want to move into some intriguing work on panspermia, the idea that life may spread throughout a Solar System, and perhaps from star to star, because of massive impacts on a planetary surface. Catching up with older stories means leaving some things unsaid about antimatter [...]

Disruptive Planets and their Consequences

Disruptive Planets and their Consequences

One of the joys of writing a site like Centauri Dreams is that I can choose my own topics and devote as much or as little time as I want to each. The downside is that when I’m covering something in greater depth, as with the four articles on antimatter that ran in the last six days, I invariably fall behind on other interesting work. That means [...]

Losing Our Cosmology

Losing Our Cosmology

Long-time Centauri Dreams readers know I love the idea of ‘deep time,’ an interest that cosmology provokes on a regular basis these days. Avi Loeb’s new work at Harvard tweaks these chords nicely as the theorist examines what we know and when we won’t be able to study it any longer. For an accelerating universe means that galaxies are [...]

Antimatter: The Production Problem

Antimatter: The Production Problem

Antimatter is so tantalizing a prospect for propulsion that every time a new slant on using it appears, I try to figure out its implications for long-haul missions. But the news, however interesting, is inevitably balanced by the reality of production problems. There’s no question that antimatter is potent stuff, with the potential for dealing [...]

Toward a Beamed Core Drive

Toward a Beamed Core Drive

If you didn’t see this morning’s spectacular launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9, be sure to check out the video (and it would be a good day to follow @elonmusk on Twitter, too). As we open the era of private launches to resupply the International Space Station, it’s humbling to contrast how exhilarating this morning feels with the great distances [...]

100 Year Starship Organization Launches

100 Year Starship Organization Launches

Today was to have been devoted to antimatter, continuing the discussion not only of how to produce the stuff on Earth or harvest it in nearby space, but how to create the kind of propulsion system that could tap its enormous energies. But the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence released its first public announcement about the 100 Year [...]

Changing the Risk Paradigm

Changing the Risk Paradigm

As we continue to think about the implications of Planetary Resources and its plans for asteroid mining, I was interested to see exoplanet hunter Sara Seager (MIT) make a rousing case for the company’s ideas and for commercial space ventures in general. Seager, who works with Planetary Resources as a science advisor, tells The Atlantic’s Ross [...]

Antimatter: Finding the Fuel

Antimatter: Finding the Fuel

In Stephen Baxter’s wonderful novel Ark (Roc, 2010), a team of scientists works desperately to come up with an interstellar spacecraft while epic floods threaten the Earth. The backdrop gives Baxter the chance to work through many of our current ideas about propulsion, from starships riding a wave of nuclear explosions (Orion) to antimatter [...]

A Near-Term Enterprise?

A Near-Term Enterprise?

It’s too bad we don’t already have a workable Enterprise, that vast near-term rendition of the Star Trek vehicle that a systems engineer named ‘Dan’ has been talking about on BuildTheEnterprise.org (a site which has been so heavily trafficked in the last 48 hours that it has proven almost inaccessible). What Dan has in mind is the design, [...]

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