“Ad Astra Incrementis”
To the stars in ever-increasing steps
The About Page shows what we do. This page explains how we get that done.
THE person behind our new forum is journalist Paul Gilster, author of Centauri Dreams. His postings are based on:
His three major leads are:
Our network of practitioners, many of whom are pioneers in their own fields, are our first source for finding additional pioneers. As each goes about their work, they look for publications or new colleagues that show that rare blend of:
Each technological development follows an “S-Curve,” where only little progress is made in the beginning until a breakthrough occurs (lower knee on the curve), and then many improvements are made. Eventually, however, the underlying physical limits are reached and additional work cannot improve performance, the point of “diminishing returns.” To surpass those limits a different method must be found whose physical limits are better. That path, too, will follow an S-curve. Pioneers typically look for the new S-curves, while innovators and established experts in their field tend to further refine existing methods. With virtually all space groups pursuing the nearer-term goals, Tau Zero instead seeks out those who are willing to depart from than norm and seek the revolutionary advancements. Examples include how steam ships surpassed sailing ships; how rockets fly higher than aircraft, how jet aircraft fly faster than propeller aircraft.
The basic Tau Zero tactic is to find today’s pioneers, support them to accelerate their progress, and then filter out the best prospects. Once sufficiently viable approaches emerge – then it will be time to invest to bring those approaches to fruition.
With a network of individuals having the characteristics described above, progress is only limited by time and resources. It has been found that these individuals are typically willing to participate with others, to find areas of mutual interest for collaboration, or define niches (who does what) to avoid redundant work.
From there, it’s pretty much a matter of following the scientific method for the technical progress, following journalistic integrity for sharing that progress to the public, and applying imagination and writing skills for creating provocative science fiction… to present new possibilities and inspire future generations of pioneers. In short, this means:
To convey this progress in a manner where novices can find out who is doing what and the real edge of knowledge, Tau Zero is compiling this progress into our Discoveries Log
Education includes connecting students to correct and timely information, and guiding them on how to take the next steps. Our Centauri Dreams news forum is our venue for sharing progress to general audiences. We are now seeking grants to scale up to our next level, of linking graduate students and faculty to the correct and timely information on interstellar flight so that they may make progress to solving the next steps.
The progress made by practitioners in Tau Zero network is documented in their various books, journal articles, and presentations. Some of these are listed in the “Steps Taken” page. In addition, progress also includes identifying what work remains to be done, more specifically the next steps. Some of these are listed in the “Steps Remaining” page, and are at the level of next-step tasks, each of which could be completed in 1 to 3 years.
Tau Zero started an informal network of like-minded scientists and engineers, which evolved to include the collaboration of journalists, artists, and science fiction writers. Through our Tau Zero connections, we could do things beyond the bounds of our day-jobs. Now, Tau Zero is ready to scale up to the next level, of actually sponsoring research. To reach that point, here is our multi-decade implementation plan. Items that are already in progress are in Green font.
1. Laying Solid Foundations – accessible, accurate, focused, and timely information
1.1. Internet presence (This Website)
1.2. Interstellar news forum – to sustain momentum of progress and public awareness
1.3. “Discoveries Log” A repository for information about the challenges, prospective solutions, and required next-step. Intended to become the impartial & unbiased source on star flight
1.3.1. Categories of Coverage
184.108.40.206. Humanity’s Journey (Societal relevance and interaction with society)
220.127.116.11. Getting There
18.104.22.168. Ancillary, relevant topics (AI, synthetic biology, human lifespan extension, etc.)
1.3.2. The big, important questions
1.3.3. Current state-of-the-art toward answering those questions (including a ‘top hits’ bibliography)
1.3.4. Resulting ‘next-step’ recommendations to continue progress
1.3.5. Opportunistic Projects
1.4. Social networking / participation – engage the world and especially the young
1.4.1. Moderated discussion forum on news blog
1.4.2. Twitter and Facebook fan site
1.4.3. Crowd sourcing on the ‘next-step’ recommendations
3. University Participation Program – planting seeds widely, efficiently
4. Spokesperson for public relations (PR) and fundraising campaigns
5. Investment Strategy for Incremental Progress
5.1. Establish a special fund for supporting incremental research and other projects
5.2. Prioritization & selection process for incremental research
5.3. Corporate sponsorships
5.4. Intellectual Property and revenue return policies – preparing for profitable spin-offs
5.5. Venture Capital fundraising
6. Triennial cycle of progress, publications, and awards
6.1.Symposium & workshop to showcase interstellar progress, consider implications of advancements in outside disciplines, present awards, and prepare for next steps
6.2. Interstellar progress awards
6.3. Solicitations & awards for next-step research
6.4. Publish progress in journals – normal dissemination of science and technology
6.5.Special publications for promotion and revenue – value-added explanations for general audiences (journalist contribution) plus inspirational material (artist & sci-fi writing)
6.6. Repeat cycle until sufficient progress has accrued to enable star flight
Make it real, make it exciting, get it done.