Broadcast 2847 Dr. Geoffrey Landis

17 Jan 2017 Dr. Geoffrey Landis
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Guest:  Dr. Geoffrey Landis; Topics: Laser beam propulsion for interstellar flight, interstellar physics, solar system space settlement, much more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See

We welcomed Dr. Geoffrey Landis back to the program to discuss laser beam interstellar propulsion and much more.  During the first segment of our 98 minute discussion, we talked about the Breakthrough Interstellar Initiative, wafers to Alpha Centauri, wafer sensors, beam technology and much more.  Our discussion included the chip technology needed, power supplies for the laser beam, laser propulsion beam location, and solar sail development which would be a precursor to the laser beam interstellar propulsion.  This specific topic continued to come up during the balance of our discussion.

During the first segment we also talked about human interstellar flight, robotics and AI.  Dr. Landis mentioned tethered technology which he supported.  In addition, we talked advanced concepts with our guest mentioning the research of others, many of whom have been guests on the show. 

Listener Ralph wanted to know about settlement for Mars as compared to the Moon, Venus, Titan, and Europa.  Dr. Landis said he believed in solar system settlement and was interested in some of the moons of Jupiter.  We talked about technology to get us there and he thought nuclear propulsion would be required and would be sufficient.  He also said it would probably be wise to start with the closest and easiest place first regarding space settlement.  Another topic in this segment focused on telling the difference between legitimate fringe science research vs. the more kooky science projects.  Don't miss what Dr. Landis suggested via his response to this question.

Sally asked Dr. Landis about his science fiction work and the relationship of sci-fi to physics.  Dr. Landis had much to say in response to Sally's question.  Don't miss this end to the first segment of today's program.

In the second segment, John from Ft. worth called with questions about interstellar probes.  Dr. Landis offered a far ranging conversation including Doppler shift, interstellar communications from the probes back to Earth, keeping the laser beam on target, time lines, and more.  The subject of interstellar space walks came up due to the current movie, Passengers.  Dr. Landis suggested what would happen to those venturing outside the craft during interstellar flight and John provided us with some tentative numbers that he had crunched on this subject.  Don't miss this fun discussion.  John and Geoffrey then chatted about the potential of antimatter.  You might be surprised by this discussion.

Jerry from Florida emailed in about the Bae system and photons.  I then read several advanced email questions from Matthew in German.  Matthew asked four excellent questions, two of which came up for discussion the first segment with the latter two coming up in the last segment.  You definitely want to hear what our guest had to say in response to each of Matthew's four questions throughout our program. 

I asked Dr. Landis about progress on a Venus settlement project.  Dr. Landis had much to say about returning science missions to Venus.  He said there was disappointments that no Venus mission was selected for a Discovery mission but that a new selection process would start soon and he hoped a Venus mission would be selected.  We talked about Venus in science fiction and as a competitor to Mars for settlement.  Travel times to Venus were discussed as was a cloud location at the top of the Venus atmosphere which he said would be the most Earth-like in the entire solar system. 

Before the program ended, we talked about interstellar interest outside the US and with international space agencies.  Dr. Doug called to ask the interesting question about the size of the first humans going to interstellar space. Would be an embryo by chance?  Don't miss what Doug and Geoffrey talked about regarding this topic, including robots and AI.  They also talked hibernation, sleeper ships and more regarding humans for interstellar flight.

We ended the program and Dr. Landis got off the line.  Just as that happened, another phone call came in so I decided to take it.  Dr. Jim Benford had called to talk with Geoffrey but he stayed with us anyway knowing Geoffrey was already off the line.  Jim spoke with us for a few extra minutes to tell us what was on his mind.  He talked about starship technology, early possible systems, even a commercial possibility.  Stay tuned in to hear what Dr. Benford had to say in the closing minutes of our program.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog which is the archived page for this program.  You can reach Dr. Landis through me, NASA, or his website,




laser driven interstellar probes and more