From Here to the Stars Episode 14: Les Johnson

In this episode of From Here to the Stars, host Stephen Euin Cobb sits down with TVIW co-founder Les Johnson.

Les Johnson is a physicist, author, and NASA technologist. He is a founding member of the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop and served as the Program Chair for all six TVIW interstellar symposia. He is an elected member of the International Academy of Astronautics, a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society and a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the National Space Society, and MENSA.

Publisher’s Weekly noted that “The spirit of Arthur C. Clarke and his contemporaries is alive and well…” when describing Les’s 2018 novel, Mission to Methone. His 2018 non-fiction book, with co-author Joe Meany, Graphene: The Superstrong, Superthin, and Superversatile Material That Will Revolutionize the World was reviewed in the journal Nature, excerpted in American Scientist, and on Salon.com. His latest anthology, Stellaris: People of the Stars, coedited with Robert Hampson, was published by Baen Books in September 2019.

In his day job, Les is a Principal Investigator of two interplanetary solar sail space missions at the NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The first, Near Earth Asteroid Scout, scheduled for spaceflight in 2021, will use a 925 square foot solar sail to propel a small spacecraft to rendezvous with an asteroid. The second, Solar Cruiser, will demonstrate the ability of an 18,000 square foot solar sail-propelled spacecraft to perform scientific observations of the sun if it selected for flight in 2024. During his career at NASA, Les served as the Manager for the Space Science Programs and Projects Office, the In-Space Propulsion Technology Project, and the Interstellar Propulsion Research Project.

From Here to the Stars Episode 13: Angelle Tanner

On this month’s episode of, ‘From Here to the Stars,’ our host, Stephen Euin Cobb, interviews Doctor Angelle Tanner. Dr. Angelle Tanner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Mississippi State University. She has been interested in finding habitable planets outside our solar system since she was quite young. Her research is focused on multiple methods of extrasolar planet detection including using radial velocities, astrometry and direct imaging. She is also involved in research programs devoted to understanding the properties of the stars around which we are looking for planets. These properties include a star’s size, rotational velocity, activity and whether it has a dusty debris disk. By knowing the architecture of planetary systems as well as the properties of their host stars, we also learn more about how those planets formed and evolved and how many similar systems exist in our Galaxy. Dr. Tanner hopes to be a primary contributor to the discovery of life on a nearby, Earth-like planet. Searching for possible planets we could possibly inhabit or planets with all kinds of different environments! An exciting episode you don’t want to miss!

From Here to the Stars Episode 12: Jeff Greason

In this episode of From Here to the Stars, host Stephen Euin Cobb sits down with Mr. Jeff Greason. Mr. Greason writes,  “I grew up with middle class parents in rural Oregon, with some of my earliest memories being Star Trek, the Apollo 17 launch, and reading classic science fiction. As far as I know, I’ve always been interested in science and technology. I thought that by the time I was an adult, there would be plenty of work for electrical engineers in space, and I liked circuits, so I studied engineering, and took vocational electronics training while in elementary and middle school. That was when I realized that part of what was missing in the NASA/Star Trek kind of space vision was – how was this going to get paid for? I found the work of Gerard O’Neill that began looking for answers to that question. It didn’t seem necessary to me to work on space transportation then as the Shuttle promised to dramatically reduce spaceflight costs. And since July 2016 I have served as chairman of the Board of the Tau Zero Foundation, a non-profit developing advanced propulsion technologies with relevance to both advanced near-term missions and long-term potential for interstellar probes. The Tau Zero Foundation is also laying out options to U.S. policy makers for very frequent, small payload, unconventional launch strategies to enable affordable space strategies such as boost-phase missile defense.”

From Here to the Stars Episode 11: Stephen Fleming

In this installment of From Here to the Stars, host Stephen Euin Cobb interviews Stephen Fleming. At various times, Fleming has been paid to be an optical physicist, laser fabricator, software developer, field engineer, product manager, corporate trainer, marketing executive, salesman, general manager, entrepreneur, author, venture capitalist, board member, investment banker, consultant, angel investor, public speaker, adjunct university faculty, commercial landlord, academic bureaucrat, and economic developer. Stephen is active in the “alternative space” industry; he is an investor in eleven private aerospace companies and is a founding member of the Space Angels Network. In 2017, he founded the Arizona Space Business Roundtable in Tucson.

From Here To the Stars Episode 10: Nik Rao

Nikhil Rao, MD, MSc (AKA Vindaloo Diesel, AKA Dr. Karma) is a child and adolescent psychiatrist specializing in working with critically and chronically ill children. On a day to day basis, this means he’s the only physician in the pediatric ICU who can dress up like Batman and claim it’s ‘for the children’. Which he does. Frequently. He’s also involved in research into new pharmacologic tools and psychotherapy methods to improve the lives of children with serious medical illnesses. Nikhil has also been active in the fitness and nutrition professional scene and can be described as strong for an Indian (in other words not very). Prior to medicine, he studied the evolution of intelligence and social systems in monkeys, which are actually a lot like children, albeit hairier. He’s been a voracious science fiction fan for years and when not stuck in the hospital has been slowly working on launching his media presence, which can be described as something like Jordan Peterson, only tinged with curry, profanity, and entirely too much math.

From Here to the Stars Episode 9: Doug Loss

In this episode, host Stephen Euin Cobb interviews Doug Loss. Loss is retired, but was an IT security analyst from Maryville, TN. He has been an SF reader since childhood (more than 55 years) and a war gamer for over 50 years. He’s an avid blues music fan and serves as the IT Chair and 2020 President of the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop (https://irg.space).

From Here to the Stars Episode 8: Doctor Joseph Meany

In Episode 8, Stephen Euin Cobb, Host of “Future and You” podcast, interviews Dr. Joseph Meany, Post doctoral Research Associate for Savannah River National Laboratory and a member of the  Board of Directors for TVIW. Stephen caught up with Joseph as a presenter at LibertyCon during the summer of 2019 to discuss some of his work on materials science related to interstellar travel.

From Here to the Stars Episode 7: Toni Weisskopf

In Episode 7, Stephen Euin Cobb, Host of “Future and You” podcast, interviews Toni Weisskopf, Publisher of Baen Books and a member of the Advisory Board for Interstellar Research Group (IRG). Toni joins us to discuss some of the big questions facing the trail to interstellar travel.

From Here to the Stars – Episode 6: Doctor James N. Benford

In Episode 6, Stephen Euin Cobb, Host of “Future and You” podcast, interviews Dr. James N. Benford, the President of Microwave Sciences, Inc., a contracting firm specializing in High Power Microwave (HPM) systems. Microwave Sciences provides expert services from conceptual design to hardware, HPM effects testing and power beaming. Dr. Benford has been active in advanced research in private companies for 40 years and is experienced in transitioning research results into commercial products. He has published over 139 scientific papers and has written six books on physics topics. This series is produced in association with the Intersellar Research Group.

From Here to the Stars Special Episode: An interview with Scholarship winner Evelyn Johnson

This is a special episode of, “From Here to the Stars,” in which we interview different people on the development of #interstellar projects and the future of interstellar travel. This series is part of the Interstellar Research Group. The Interstellar Research Group has chosen three students as the recipients for our 2020 scholarships. These Scholarships were created to encourage the next generation to study science, technology, engineering, and math. Today we interview Evelyn Johnson who is one of our undergraduate scholarship winners on her essay on the benefits of space development.

From Here to the Stars: Special Episode – Scholar Ship Winner Hayden Morgan

During this special episode of, “From Here to the Stars,” our host, Stephen Euin Cobb, interviews Hayden Morgan. Hayden Morgan is our graduate level winner who won the Interstellar Research Groups Scholarship which supports research which will enable humanity to get from here to the Stars. Hayden received a bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the the University of Cincinnati in 2019 and also participated in the Hyperloop Group in the 2019 Space X Hyperloop Pod Competition as well as serves as a mentor to High School Students in designing, fabricating, and testing Robots capable of completing complex tasks. Currently Hayden is pursuing a Masters of Science in Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. His winning essay is title, “Interstellar Missions Research Essay.”SHOW LESS

From Here to the Stars Presents: A look into the Arecibo Observatory

Come join us for a Special Episode of, “From Here to the Stars.” In this episode, our host, Stephen Euin Cobb, sits down with Doctor Tracy Becker, Doctor Michael Nolan, and Doctor Gregory Matloff and discusses the mechanics and mission on the Arecibo Observatory, as well as some of their fond memories and experiences.

From Here to the Stars Episode 14: Les Johnson

In this episode of From Here to the Stars, host Stephen Euin Cobb sits down with TVIW co-founder Les Johnson.

Les Johnson is a physicist, author, and NASA technologist. He is a founding member of the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop and served as the Program Chair for all six TVIW interstellar symposia. He is an elected member of the International Academy of Astronautics, a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society and a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the National Space Society, and MENSA.

Publisher’s Weekly noted that “The spirit of Arthur C. Clarke and his contemporaries is alive and well…” when describing Les’s 2018 novel, Mission to Methone. His 2018 non-fiction book, with co-author Joe Meany, Graphene: The Superstrong, Superthin, and Superversatile Material That Will Revolutionize the World was reviewed in the journal Nature, excerpted in American Scientist, and on Salon.com. His latest anthology, Stellaris: People of the Stars, coedited with Robert Hampson, was published by Baen Books in September 2019.

In his day job, Les is a Principal Investigator of two interplanetary solar sail space missions at the NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The first, Near Earth Asteroid Scout, scheduled for spaceflight in 2021, will use a 925 square foot solar sail to propel a small spacecraft to rendezvous with an asteroid. The second, Solar Cruiser, will demonstrate the ability of an 18,000 square foot solar sail-propelled spacecraft to perform scientific observations of the sun if it selected for flight in 2024. During his career at NASA, Les served as the Manager for the Space Science Programs and Projects Office, the In-Space Propulsion Technology Project, and the Interstellar Propulsion Research Project.

From Here to the Stars Episode 13: Angelle Tanner

On this month’s episode of, ‘From Here to the Stars,’ our host, Stephen Euin Cobb, interviews Doctor Angelle Tanner. Dr. Angelle Tanner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Mississippi State University. She has been interested in finding habitable planets outside our solar system since she was quite young. Her research is focused on multiple methods of extrasolar planet detection including using radial velocities, astrometry and direct imaging. She is also involved in research programs devoted to understanding the properties of the stars around which we are looking for planets. These properties include a star’s size, rotational velocity, activity and whether it has a dusty debris disk. By knowing the architecture of planetary systems as well as the properties of their host stars, we also learn more about how those planets formed and evolved and how many similar systems exist in our Galaxy. Dr. Tanner hopes to be a primary contributor to the discovery of life on a nearby, Earth-like planet. Searching for possible planets we could possibly inhabit or planets with all kinds of different environments! An exciting episode you don’t want to miss!

From Here to the Stars Episode 12: Jeff Greason

In this episode of From Here to the Stars, host Stephen Euin Cobb sits down with Mr. Jeff Greason. Mr. Greason writes,  “I grew up with middle class parents in rural Oregon, with some of my earliest memories being Star Trek, the Apollo 17 launch, and reading classic science fiction. As far as I know, I’ve always been interested in science and technology. I thought that by the time I was an adult, there would be plenty of work for electrical engineers in space, and I liked circuits, so I studied engineering, and took vocational electronics training while in elementary and middle school. That was when I realized that part of what was missing in the NASA/Star Trek kind of space vision was – how was this going to get paid for? I found the work of Gerard O’Neill that began looking for answers to that question. It didn’t seem necessary to me to work on space transportation then as the Shuttle promised to dramatically reduce spaceflight costs. And since July 2016 I have served as chairman of the Board of the Tau Zero Foundation, a non-profit developing advanced propulsion technologies with relevance to both advanced near-term missions and long-term potential for interstellar probes. The Tau Zero Foundation is also laying out options to U.S. policy makers for very frequent, small payload, unconventional launch strategies to enable affordable space strategies such as boost-phase missile defense.”

From Here to the Stars Episode 11: Stephen Fleming

In this installment of From Here to the Stars, host Stephen Euin Cobb interviews Stephen Fleming. At various times, Fleming has been paid to be an optical physicist, laser fabricator, software developer, field engineer, product manager, corporate trainer, marketing executive, salesman, general manager, entrepreneur, author, venture capitalist, board member, investment banker, consultant, angel investor, public speaker, adjunct university faculty, commercial landlord, academic bureaucrat, and economic developer. Stephen is active in the “alternative space” industry; he is an investor in eleven private aerospace companies and is a founding member of the Space Angels Network. In 2017, he founded the Arizona Space Business Roundtable in Tucson.

From Here To the Stars Episode 10: Nik Rao

Nikhil Rao, MD, MSc (AKA Vindaloo Diesel, AKA Dr. Karma) is a child and adolescent psychiatrist specializing in working with critically and chronically ill children. On a day to day basis, this means he’s the only physician in the pediatric ICU who can dress up like Batman and claim it’s ‘for the children’. Which he does. Frequently. He’s also involved in research into new pharmacologic tools and psychotherapy methods to improve the lives of children with serious medical illnesses. Nikhil has also been active in the fitness and nutrition professional scene and can be described as strong for an Indian (in other words not very). Prior to medicine, he studied the evolution of intelligence and social systems in monkeys, which are actually a lot like children, albeit hairier. He’s been a voracious science fiction fan for years and when not stuck in the hospital has been slowly working on launching his media presence, which can be described as something like Jordan Peterson, only tinged with curry, profanity, and entirely too much math.

From Here to the Stars Episode 9: Doug Loss

In this episode, host Stephen Euin Cobb interviews Doug Loss. Loss is retired, but was an IT security analyst from Maryville, TN. He has been an SF reader since childhood (more than 55 years) and a war gamer for over 50 years. He’s an avid blues music fan and serves as the IT Chair and 2020 President of the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop (https://irg.space).

From Here to the Stars Episode 8: Doctor Joseph Meany

In Episode 8, Stephen Euin Cobb, Host of “Future and You” podcast, interviews Dr. Joseph Meany, Post doctoral Research Associate for Savannah River National Laboratory and a member of the  Board of Directors for TVIW. Stephen caught up with Joseph as a presenter at LibertyCon during the summer of 2019 to discuss some of his work on materials science related to interstellar travel.

From Here to the Stars – Episode 6: Doctor James N. Benford

In Episode 6, Stephen Euin Cobb, Host of “Future and You” podcast, interviews Dr. James N. Benford, the President of Microwave Sciences, Inc., a contracting firm specializing in High Power Microwave (HPM) systems. Microwave Sciences provides expert services from conceptual design to hardware, HPM effects testing and power beaming. Dr. Benford has been active in advanced research in private companies for 40 years and is experienced in transitioning research results into commercial products. He has published over 139 scientific papers and has written six books on physics topics. This series is produced in association with the Intersellar Research Group.

From Here to the Stars: Special Episode – Scholarship Winner Hayden Morgan

During this special episode of, “From Here to the Stars,” our host, Stephen Euin Cobb, interviews Hayden Morgan. Hayden Morgan is our graduate level winner who won the Interstellar Research Groups Scholarship which supports research which will enable humanity to get from here to the Stars. Hayden received a bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the the University of Cincinnati in 2019 and also participated in the Hyperloop Group in the 2019 Space X Hyperloop Pod Competition as well as serves as a mentor to High School Students in designing, fabricating, and testing Robots capable of completing complex tasks. Currently Hayden is pursuing a Masters of Science in Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. His winning essay is title, “Interstellar Missions Research Essay.”SHOW LESS

From Here to the Stars – Episode 5: An Interstellar travel discussion with Doctor Cameron M. Smith

In Episode 5, Stephen Euin Cobb, Host of “Future and You” podcast, interviews Dr. Cameron M. Smith, a Prehistorian at Portland State University’s Dept. of Anthropology. He is working with Icarus Interstellar on the genetic and cultural evolution of our descendants as they disperse beyond our solar system. This series is produced in association with Interstellar Research Group.

From Here to the Stars – Episode 4: An Interstellar travel discussion with Gregory L. Matloff

In Episode 4, Stephen Euin Cobb, Host of “Future and You” podcast, interviews Dr. Gregory L. Matloff, Emeritus Associate and Adjunct Associate Professor of Physics at New York City College of Technology (NYCCT), Fellow of the British interplanetary Society, and Hayden Associate at the American Museum of Natural History. This series is produced in association with Interstellar Research Group.

From Here to the Stars – Episode 3: An Interstellar travel discussion with Philip Lubin

In Episode 3, Stephen Euin Cobb, Host of “Future and You” podcast, interviews Dr. Philip Lubin, a professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a co-recipient of the 2006 Gruber Prize in Cosmology along with the COBE science team for their groundbreaking work in cosmology. This series is produced in association with the Interstellar Research Group.

From Here to the Stars – Episode 2: An Interstellar travel discussion with Louis D. Friedman

In Episode 2, Stephen Euin Cobb, Host of “Future and You” podcast, interviews Dr. Louis D. Friedman, Co-Founder of The Planetary Society with Carl Sagan and Bruce C. Murray and Planetary Society Executive Director Emeritus, in association with the Interstellar Research Group who also produced this podcast.

From Here to the Stars – Episode 5: An Interstellar travel discussion with Doctor Cameron M. Smith

In Episode 5, Stephen Euin Cobb, Host of “Future and You” podcast, interviews Dr. Cameron M. Smith, a Prehistorian at Portland State University’s Dept. of Anthropology. He is working with Icarus Interstellar on the genetic and cultural evolution of our descendants as they disperse beyond our solar system. This series is produced in association with Interstellar Research Group.

From Here to the Stars – Episode 4: An Interstellar travel discussion with Gregory L. Matloff

In Episode 4, Stephen Euin Cobb, Host of “Future and You” podcast, interviews Dr. Gregory L. Matloff, Emeritus Associate and Adjunct Associate Professor of Physics at New York City College of Technology (NYCCT), Fellow of the British interplanetary Society, and Hayden Associate at the American Museum of Natural History. This series is produced in association with Interstellar Research Group.

From Here to the Stars – Episode 3: An Interstellar travel discussion with Philip Lubin

In Episode 3, Stephen Euin Cobb, Host of “Future and You” podcast, interviews Dr. Philip Lubin, a professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a co-recipient of the 2006 Gruber Prize in Cosmology along with the COBE science team for their groundbreaking work in cosmology. This series is produced in association with the Interstellar Research Group.

From Here to the Stars – Episode 2: An Interstellar travel discussion with Louis D. Friedman

In Episode 2, Stephen Euin Cobb, Host of “Future and You” podcast, interviews Dr. Louis D. Friedman, Co-Founder of The Planetary Society with Carl Sagan and Bruce C. Murray and Planetary Society Executive Director Emeritus, in association with the Interstellar Research Group who also produced this podcast.

From Here to the Stars – Episode 1: An Interstellar travel discussion with Marc Millis

In Episode 1, Stephen Euin Cobb interviews Marc G. Millis, Founder and Director of Tau Zero Foundation, in association with the Interstellar Research Group.