Broadcast 1497 (Special Edition)

17 Jan 2011 Marc G. Millis
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Guest: Marc Millis. Topics: Breakthrough propulsion, advanced technology development, interstellar travel, science and engineering development. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. We welcomed Marc Millis back to the program to discuss some of his new papers and developments dealing with advanced propulsion for space travel. Marc has two new papers to read: 1) "Progress In Revolutionary Propulsion Physics" at 2) "Energy, incessant obsolescence, and the first interstellar missions" at Be sure to visit the Tau Zero Foundation website at In our first segment, Marc talked about his new interstellar paper and that based on energy requirements, it might take between one and two centuries to be able to realize interstellar travel. He explained his theory based on energy but also talked about other ways of forecasting when interstellar travel might become a reality with each of the other ways suggesting similar time lines. Marc said that being able to realize interstellar travel was essential and was a survival imperative for humanity. We then talked about various projects that are pushing the technology window including the Japanese Project Ikaros and the Tau Zero Foundation Project Icarus. We talked about nuclear propulsion and undiscovered physics. As you will hear, Mr. Millis said the key to advancing technology was being able to ask the right question. We explored his comment in some detail. At the end of this segment, Marc talked about cultural trends in the space field and that often organizations start to develop outside the main one to fill a void. This discussion came about because he was asked if NASA should be doing breakthrough propulsion research and development and was it appropriate to spend public money on such projects. We started our second segment with a listener asking how to determine if an idea is a crackpot idea or not. Mark provided us with a range of factors to use so this is a discussion you will want to listen to and maybe even take some notes. He also told us about the famous paper, "Unskilled and Unaware of It" which as you will hear, appears to be applicable to the crackpot issue. Later in this segment, he was asked if we had the skills and abilities to back engineer an interstellar vehicle that was here on Earth. You might be surprised by Marc's answer so again, listen carefully to what he had to say. At the end of the segment, he was asked why Moore's Law cannot be applied to technology advancement and propulsion physics. Don't miss his response to this question. In the third segment, he talked about the DARPA/Ames study, the One Hundred Year Starship Study. Later, he was asked about timelines for propulsion development as compared for space projects like going to the Moon, a NEO, etc. As you will hear, we should not confuse the timeline required for a mission as compared to the timeline required for technology development. If you have comments or questions for Marc Millis, post them on The Space Show blog. You can also use the contact section on his website and reference The Space Show.



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