TVIW 2019 Sagan Meeting and Working Track

The TVIW Interstellar Symposium is more than just a collection of talks. We pride ourselves on being a workshop of ideas where our attendees participate in finding ways to make interstellar exploration and colonization a reality.

We have two opportunities for more in-depth discussion of important ideas with both our presenters and the attendees. The first opportunity is a Sagan Meeting on ethical challenges in spaceflight and exploration, and a Working Track on terraforming and colonization.


Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7 PM. Facilitated by Dr. James S.J. Schwartz

A two hour panel discussion named for a visionary Carl Sagan, who famously employed this format for his 1971 conference at the Byurakan Observatory in old Soviet Armenia, which dealt with the Drake Equation. The Sagan Meeting will feature four speakers who have been invited to give short presentations staking out a position on a particular question. These speakers will then form a panel to engage in a lively discussion with one hour of panel discussion and one hour of audience interaction on that topic.

This year’s Sagan Meeting will focus on the question: “What is the most ethically salient roadblock to space settlement? That is, what is the most important issue or problem that you believe must be resolved in advance of initiating space settlement?” Implications for interstellar settlement will also be discussed. Invited speakers include philosopher Dr. Kelly Smith of Clemson; linguist Dr. Sheri Wells-Jensen of Bowling Green State; anthropologist Dr. John Traphagan of U.T. Austin; and anthropologist Dr. Deana Weibel of Grand Valley State.


Monday, Nov. 11 after dinner and Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7PM (also, tentatively Friday morning if there is interest). Facilitated by Rob Hampson and Ken Roy.

The Working Track is a collaborative, small group discussion with the objective of engaging both experts and public to encourage further developments toward interstellar topics. We also look at the functional aspects of how to get these ideas in front of the general public, such as public outreach events, scholarly and popular science articles and even anthologies of mixed fiction and nonfiction (such as Stellaris: People of the Stars (Baen Books) which was inspired by the TVIW 2016 Working Track: Homo Stellaris (Becoming the People of the Stars).

This year’s Working Track on Terraforming follows-on from plenary talks by Ken Roy, Cathe Smith, and Andrew Swindle to discuss how to create a human-tolerant environment away from Earth. We will discuss our aims and goals on Monday evening and break into smaller groups if needed. Primary discussion will be Tuesday evening in parallel with the Sagan Meeting, although we can frankly use any time that folks want to sit together and discuss.

One intermediate goal is to create a list of key points in a SWOT analysis – i.e. identifying key Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats that terraform will encounter. These key points will be communicated to the Interstellar Symposium on Wednesday Nov. 13 before lunch (~10 min presentation).

We also have the opportunity to meet on Friday morning while the NASA Propulsion Workshop is developing their Roadmaps. This additional discussion time can be used by Working Track participants to propose and formulate our outreach plans – i.e. scholarly JBIS articles, less formal articles for and the TVIW newsletter, or even propose an anthology! Also, at this time, participants interested in a specific aspect of terraforming can propose a research topic and seek interested partners to work with after the 6th TVIW Symposium with the possibility of developing a publishable paper to be presented at the 7th TVIW Symposium.

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