The Second Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop – ‘Let’s Get Started’
February 3 through 6, 2013
The Second Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop was held in Huntsville, Alabama, aka “Rocket City, USA” from February 3 – 6, 2013. The attendees came away from the workshop with expanded horizons, raised expectations for the future of humanity, and a renewed sense of wonder at the universe around us and perhaps the greatest challenge that we, as humans, might ever face – how to become an interstellar species.
In addition to hearing a stellar set of speakers, our attendees were also able to tour the facility where Nexolve Corporation, one of TVIW 2013 sponsors, is building the sun shield for the James Webb Space Telescope, and the facility where United Launch Alliance builds both Delta and Atlas rockets.
You can read about the workshop in the Summer 2013 edition of the NSS Ad Astra Magazine
The Major Topic Areas in the Call for Papers Were:
The main venue was NeXolve’s auditorium. It began with a Sunday night reception hosted by Baen Books and supported by HAL5, during which the new cocktail “Alpha Centauri Sunrise” was presented to the world. (for recipe, see below, or read Paul Gilster’s article about it in Centauri Dreams.
The workshop was an intense single-track, two-day program of 25 plenary daytime sessions including 1 keynote each day as well as 2 plenary daytime working sessions. Six of the papers presented were ultimately published by the most prestigious Journal of the British Interplanetary Society in a special issue [vol.66, no.10-11, Oct-Nov 2013]. These intense days were coupled with 3 parallel nighttime breakout “birds of a feather” (aka BoF) sessions (the “workshop” half) until the wee hours. A note about these “BoFs”: This event served as both a Colloquium to present papers of interest to colleagues and a Workshop to get things done. The purpose of the BoF sessions was to answer the questions: – What are the things we (the Workshop, also the human race) need to do next? The world has to be far wealthier to do a trip to Alpha Centauri. So if you want to go to another star, you should spend your career making the human race richer/more powerful. (This was Herman Kahn’s view too.) The formal programming concluded with a large public forum and panel session organized by HAL5 at Calhoun Community College‘s Huntsville Campus.
(Above) Left to Right: Bill Cress, Paul Gilster, Les Johnson, Gordon Woodcock, Richard Obousy, and Kelvin Long.
We like to thank our sponsors, without whom this workshop would not have been possible:
as well as our generous individual sponsors: Martha Knowles and Ken Roy, and John Preston.
And a special thanks to Carol Johnson for all her work behind the scenes to make sure the workshop ran smoothly.