About

“Even the longest journey must begin where you stand.”
~ Lao Tzu

 

TAU ZERO…

1. Provides the latest news about star flight (36,000 subscribers)  
News is extracted from the professional literature and shared in more accessible terms. Each article includes a moderated discussion forum. The span of coverage includes:

  • What’s out there – exoplanetology, astronomy, cosmology, and more
  • Technical advances for getting there – fusion drives, antimatter drives, ion engines, solar sails and magnetic sails, and more
  • Research into advanced physics
  • Societal implications

2. Finds today’s pioneers
Tau Zero scans the scientific literature, looking for those researchers who take intellectual risks beyond the comfort zone of their peers and develop them soundly. We then attempt to forge collaborations for cross-fertilization and efficiency.

3. Contributes to the pool of knowledge
Assists pioneers and scouts to make progress on the next-step challenges. This progress is compiled into our publicly accessible “Discoveries Log.”

4. Creates educational opportunities (Still in development)
With the assistance of the Ohio Aerospace Institute, we are creating opportunities for graduate students to answer relevant questions as part of their graduate studies.

“Ad astra incrementis” – to the stars in ever-expanding steps

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WHO

Founder
Marc G. Millis (ex-NASA Propulsion Physicist and Aerospace Engineer)

Founding Sponsor
Walter de Brouwer (International Serial Entrepreneur)

Founding Journalist
Paul Gilster (Author of Centauri Dreams)

Founding Graphic Designer
Alexandre Szames (Journalist & Artist)

Legal Counsel
Frank Nagorney (Attorney)

Plus many accomplished scientists, engineers, journalists, artists, and science fiction writers. 

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TAU ZERO – THE NAME

"Tau Zero" is both a physics term (proper time, t, in relativistic motion) as well as the title of a science fiction novel by POUL ANDERSON about interstellar flight which inspired many young readers to become scientists and engineers.  That combination of science and inspirational fiction is part of Tau Zero.

Equally symbolic is that this name is in the language of math, a language shared by many cultures back to ancient times.

WHY

All humanity lives here...  Only here.  (Earth-Moon as seen from the Voyager spacecraft in 1977 from over 7 million miles away. Credit: NASA)

Right now our survival depends on this planet's environment.  Our society has no 'Plan B.'  Space flight could extend humanity to the Moon, perhaps to Mars, but to really ensure that humanity thrives, Tau Zero pursues the greater challenge of interstellar flight.

 
  • By reaching beyond the attention-span of other space endeavors, we will discover breakthroughs they cannot.
  • While reaching for the stars, we will create benefits right here on Earth.
  • Seeking new Earths will make life on this one more meaningful.
  • And we do this because it is cool.

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HISTORY

1980's NASA Glenn Research Center hosts "Vision-21" to explore far-future spaceflight, and sets the seeds for future collaboration.
1993 "Interstellar Propulsion Society" founded
1994 Workshop in NYC, "Interstellar Flight: Are We Ready?"
1995 NASA establishes the "Breakthrough Propulsion Physics" project and "Interstellar Precursor" mission studies
2003 NASA "defers" (i.e. "cancels") all advanced space propulsion research.
2004 "Centauri Dreams" published – status of starflight prospects.
2004    "Centauri Dreams" Internet news forum established
2006 "Tau Zero Foundation" 501(c)(3) incorporated as volunteer collaborative network
2008 Tau Zero first website launched
2009 "Frontiers of Propulsion Science" published – scholarly assessment of breakthrough space propulsion
2010 Marc Millis takes an early retirement from NASA to upgrade Tau Zero Foundation to a funded effort to accomplish more
2010 DARPA and NASA-Ames introduce their "100-Year Starship Organization" plan.
2011 Symposium in Florida, "100-Year Starship"
2012 DARPA selects ex-astronaut Mae Jemison as the recipient of $500,000 seed money to establish the 100-Year Starship Organization.
  See Narrative History

 

WHERE

An international network centered at:

Tau Zero Foundation
c/o the Ohio Aerospace Institute
22800 Cedar Point Rd.
Brook Park, OH 44142  USA

 Credit Alex Szames

 

As seen in this photo of Spaceship Earth, specifically its North American Continent, Tau Zero's headquarters is located on right-hand shoreline of Lake Erie (that reflective body of water), roughly at that nose-shaped protrusion... plus a little farther to the right.  In this image, north is in the lower left direction. Image Credit: Image Science and Analysis Lab, NASA JSC.

Content Contributors

 
  • Marc Millis
  • Paul Gilster
  • Alex Szames