IRG In the Media

Articles in 2021:

The University of Arizona student newspaper, The Daily Wildcat, published an article about our recently concluded 7th Interstellar Symposium.

Articles in 2018:

Carolyn Krause writes about 3D printing structures in outer space? in The Oak Ridger:

Could astronauts use 3D printing to fabricate buildings and spacecraft on asteroids and the moon?

Attendees at the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop Space Symposium at the Y-12 New Hope Center heard a speaker from Oak Ridge National Laboratory talk about the potential for making objects in outer space using three-dimensional (3D) printing, or additive manufacturing (AM).

Paul Gilster provides a paper by Greg Matloff on Interplanetary Exploration: Application of the Solar Sail and Falcon Heavy on Centauri Dreams:

Gregory Matloff’s contributions to interstellar studies need scant introduction, given their significance to solar-and beamed sail development for decades, and their visibility through books like The Starflight Handbook (1989) and Deep Space Probes (2005). A quick check of the bibliography online will demonstrate just how active Greg continues to be in analyzing the human future in space, as well as his newfound interest in the nature of consciousness (Star Light, Star Bright, 2016)…

Angela Chen interviews two TVIW organizers in Behind the hype: experts explain the science behind graphene, the new supermaterial on The Verge:

The story might be familiar by now: The material in our lowly pencils — graphene, a version of carbon — could change the world. There’s graphene-enhanced eyewear and graphene-inspired condoms, but is this all hype? Beyond the buzzwords, what exactly is graphene, and what are its real possibilities?

Graphene-inspired eyewear might not amount to much, but graphene really could hold the key to advanced bullet-proof armor and lighter and safer smartphones, say scientists Joseph Meany and Les Johnson. They’re the authors of Graphene: The Superstrong, Superthin, and Superversatile Material That Will Revolutionize the World, out February 6th from Prometheus Books. The Verge spoke to Meany and Johnson about the science behind this material, what it could do, and what we have yet to figure out.

Paul Gilster provides a retrospective on 2017 from an Interstellar Perspective on Centauri Dreams:

The recent burst of interest in interstellar flight has surely been enhanced by the exoplanet discoveries that have become almost daily news. Finding interesting planets, some of them with the potential for water on their surfaces, inevitably raises the question of how we might find a way to get there. We can only imagine this accelerating as missions like the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and the James Webb Space Telescope begin to fill in not just our inventory of nearby planets but our understanding of their compositions…

Alex Tolley describes The Plasma Magnet Drive: A Simple, Cheap Drive for the Solar System and Beyond on Centauri Dreams:

Can we use the outflow of particles from the Sun to drive spacecraft, helping us build the Solar System infrastructure we’ll one day use as the base for deeper journeys into the cosmos? Jeff Greason, chairman of the board of the Tau Zero Foundation, presented his take on the idea at the recent Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop. The concept captured the attention of Centauri Dreams regular Alex Tolley, who here analyzes the notion, explains its differences from the conventional magnetic sail, and explores the implications of its development…

Articles since the 2017 Symposium:

Richard Hollingham asks Will we ever have genetically modified astronauts? on BBC Future:

It takes something special to be an astronaut – an extraordinary combination of bravery, fitness, intelligence, lightning-fast decision-making and calmness under the most extreme pressure. It’s known as “the right stuff“.[…]Esa astronaut, Luca Parmitano, says he was astonished how rapidly his body changed during his five-and-a-half months in orbit on the International Space Station.[…]“Legs are not very useful in space,” says Parmitano. “I wouldn’t chop them off but why don’t I turn them into hands? Having two sets of hands would be really useful in space when you can hold onto handrails and use the other hands to work.”…

Jean Schneider speculates about Oumuamua in the Research Notes of the AAS:

The detection of the object 1I/2017 U1 (MPEC 2017) on a hyperbolic trajectory presents an interesting question: is it really of interstellar origin or does it genuinely come from the Solar System, accelerated by some planetary encounter? All subsequent papers (de la Fuente Marcos, Gaidos, Laughlin and Batygin, Mamajek) present it as a probable interstellar object. The issue is important in both cases, because if it were a Solar System object, it would be the first asteroid (i.e., non cometary object) from the far outer Solar System….

Paul Gilster talks about Project Blue on Centauri Dreams:

Video presentations from the recent Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop are beginning to appear online. It’s welcome news for those of us who believe all conferences should be available this way, and a chance for Centauri Dreams readers to home in on particular presentations of interest. I published my Closing Remarks at TVIW right after the meeting and will watch with interest as the complete 2017 videos now become available. There are a number of these I’d like to see again….

Coverage for the 2017 Symposium:

Paul Gilster sums up his experience in his post from Centauri Dreams:

I want to thank Les Johnson and the conference organizers at TVIW, Tau Zero and Starship Century for the opportunity to make this presentation, and for the huge outlay in time and energy they devoted to the event. That includes our workshop leaders and participants who carried the original workshop notion forward. What I now hope to do is give an overview of what we have done here and what it signifies….

Bart Leahy published a piece with Spaceflight Insider about TVIW’s long-term challenges:

The TVIW Chairman Les Johnson is a NASA physicist by day and a science fiction writer and interstellar visionary in his free time. Given that the exploration of the Solar System will be the work of generations, if not centuries, might TVIW not be getting a little ahead of themselves? Johnson told Spaceflight Insider: “Not at all. We’re providing the long-term vision… Can we do it today? No. Can we begin developing the technologies needed? Yes. Can we think about flying precursor missions today? Yes.”

Dr. Ben Davis recounts his time at “Band Camp” on his Ask Dr. Ben Facebook page:

So some of you might have wondered why Ask Dr. Ben has been so quiet for the last week. Well, I’ve been out of town and I generally don’t like to advertise over the Internet when I’m away from my home. But now that I am back, I’m happy to tell you everything.

Prolific author Sarah Hoyt covers Why We Must Go to the Stars for PJMedia:

Why would anyone want to go to other stars? Why would it be beneficial to humanity?

Those of you who have wondered about my absence from my normal haunts online, including the “night DJ” job at Instapundit, wonder no more.

Sarah Hoyt interviews Jeff Greason about Why Get Off This Rock? for PJMedia:

I’ve known Jeff Greason for years, and we might or might not be plotting to take the sun hostage every night for some hours and not let you have it back until the morning unless you pay us one billion dollars.

Okay, that’s the joke, but Jeff and I share one very strong influence in the works of Robert A. Heinlein, which molded our juvenile minds in dramatically different, but in the end complementary, ways….

Sarah Hoyt proclaims We’re Going To Space, Are You Coming? on PJMedia:

Apparently when Von Braun was going around the country selling the idea of going to the moon/space, he would say “We’re going to the moon. Are you coming?”

Two things are important here: that the idea of going to the moon had to be sold and sold to non-scientists, and the idea that some portion of humanity is going to space and it is entirely your choice whether you’re coming or not. You can’t forever prevent the species from going….