Interstellar Travel

Interstellar Travel

Purpose and Motivations

1st Edition - February 1, 2023

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  • Editors: Les Johnson, Kenneth Roy
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780323913607

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Interstellar Travel: Purpose and Motivations is a comprehensive, technical look at the necessary considerations for interstellar travel addressed by leading experts in the field, from scientists studying possible destinations (exoplanets) and the vast distances between, to those concerned with building institutions and capabilities in society that could sustain such endeavors. In addition to the technical, medical, and anthropological aspects of deep space travel, the ethics and morality of spreading Earth-based life to other worlds is also examined. In the first book of a three-book compilation, Interstellar Travel: Purpose and Motivations offers in-depth, up-to-date and realistic technical and scientific considerations in the pursuit of interstellar travel and is an integral reference for scientists, engineers, researchers and academics working on, or interested in, space development and space technologies. With a renewed interest in space exploration and development evidenced by the rise of the commercial space sector and various governments now planning to send humans back to the moon and to Mars, so also is interest in taking the next steps beyond the Solar System and to the ultimate destination – planets circling other stars.

Key Features

  • Features detailed overviews with quantification of the technical challenges and potential benefits of interstellar missions
  • Comprehensively covers the considerations for interstellar travel by the world's recognized leading experts in the field
  • Features referenceable data and analysis for both new and experienced researchers in the interstellar and exoplanets fields


Researchers, professionals and academics working on, or interested in, space development and space travel, especially principal investigators of extra solar space missions, astrobiologists, and engineers for future space missions

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction
    2. Exoplanets. Where shall we go?
    3. Reconnaissance. Studying the target from afar
    4. The Scale of the Problem. Interstellar distances and energy considerations
    5. Robots, People, or Some Combination - Who or what should we send to the stars?
    6. Is a solar system scale civilization a precursor to going interstellar?
    7. Developing an Interstellar Capable Society
    8. Long term human institutions. What price stability?
    9. Evolving humanity. What will become of us?
    10. Ethical considerations
    11. The Fermi Paradox and Astrobiology

Product details

  • No. of pages: 290
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2023
  • Published: February 1, 2023
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780323913607

About the Editors

Les Johnson

Les Johnson is a physicist and NASA technologist at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center where he is the Principal Investigator for two NASA missions: Near-Earth Asteroid Scout (to launch in 2021) and Solar Cruiser. He is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, National Space Society, The British Interplanetary Society, and MENSA. While at NASA, Les managed the Interstellar Propulsion Research Project, the $200M In-Space Propulsion Technology Program, and the NASA MSFC Science Programs & Projects Office. He was the co-investigator on the Japanese-led T-Rex space tether experiment that flew in August 2010, the Principal Investigator for the NASA ProSEDS space experiment, received NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal three times, and holds 3 space technology patents. His book, Solar Sails, a Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel was favorably reviewed in the journal Nature (10 April 2008). Graphene: The Superstrong, Superthin, and Superversatile Material That Will Revolutionize the World also appeared in Nature (25 January 2018) and was excerpted in American Scientist (May-June 2018).

Affiliations and Expertise

Physicist and NASA Technologist, NASA Science and Tech Office,George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, The Interstellar Research Group, Oak Ridge, USA

Kenneth Roy

Kenneth Roy is a newly retired professional engineer. His professional career involved working for various Department of Energy (DOE) contractors in the fields of Fire Protection and Nuclear Safety. As a long-time research interest, Kenneth has been working with the idea of terraforming. He invented the “Shell Worlds” concept as a way to terraform planets and large moons well outside a star’s Goldilocks’ zone and under stars that have a radically different spectrum from our Sun. This was published in the January 2009 Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (JBIS). Kenneth has published multiple papers on terraforming and space colonization that have appeared in leading journals and has written chapters that have appeared in several space related books. Kenneth is a founding member of the non-profit corporation Interstellar Research Group (formerly the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop) and remains active in the organization.

Affiliations and Expertise

Formerly Founding member and Engineer, Tennessee Valley, The Interstellar Research Group, Oak Ridge, USA

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