Long-Term Perspectives on Interstellar Flight

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M. A. G. Michaud (2014), JBIS, 67, pp.207-212

Refcode: 2014.67.207
Keywords: Space flight, interstellar travel, extraterrestrial life, extraterrestrial intelligence

Realizing interstellar travel by machines or living beings will require not only scientific and technological progress, but also a shared secular belief among a determined minority that this enterprise is important for the human future. Their efforts may have to extend beyond individual human lifetimes. Historical perspectives, on both the past and the future, are proposed. Interstellar probes could be a more thorough way of searching for alien forms of life and intelligence in nearby systems, particularly if there were intelligent beings there who did not employ technologies our astronomical observing devices can detect from here. Perspectives on the ethical, policy, and design issues of such close encounters with alien life and intelligence are presented. Ways of accelerating the coming of interstellar probes are suggested.

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