Science fiction revisited: Ramjet propulsion

In science fiction stories about contact with extraterrestrial civilisations, there is a problem: What kind of propulsion system could make it possible to bridge the enormous distances between the stars? It cannot be done ...

Enrico Fermi and extraterrestrial intelligence

It's become a kind of legend, like Newton and the apple or George Washington and the cherry tree. One day in 1950, the great physicist Enrico Fermi sat down to lunch with colleagues at the Fuller Lodge at Los Alamos National ...

Climate change may prevent contact with alien civilisations

Enrico Fermi, when asked about intelligent life on other planets, famously replied, "Where are they?" Any civilisation advanced enough to undertake interstellar travel would, he argued, in a brief period of cosmic time, populate ...

Why sailing to the stars has suddenly become a realistic goal

It takes a bold person to declare that interstellar travel is now within our grasp. Physicist Stephen Hawking has shown that he is just that, taking part in the Breakthrough Starshot initiative. The project has announced ...

Using black holes to conquer space: The halo drive

The idea of traveling to another star system has been the dream of people long before the first rockets and astronauts were sent to space. But despite all the progress we have made since the beginning of the Space Age, interstellar ...

Looking for lurkers —a new way to do SETI

The most recently discovered group of rocky bodies nearby Earth are termed co-orbital objects. These may have been an attractive location for extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) to locate a probe to observe Earth throughout ...

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