Broadcast 3033 Dr. Richard Obousy

  • The Space Foundation Conference

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  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Dr. Richard Obousy;  Topics:  Interstellar flight, other forms of advanced propulsion, why interstellar flight is important and 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 back Dr. Richard Obousy to the show for this 1 hour 55 minute one segment interstellar flight and physics discussion.  We started the discussion with my asking Richard about the sense that time was traveling much faster now than at other times. I commented on how fast the year 2017 has gone by, something I have noted on many Space Show programs.  Richard attempted to explain it with physics and in other ways as well.  It was an interesting opening discussion so don't miss it. You might be surprised by some of what our guest said about this sense of fast time travel.

Our next topic dealt with why we do and want to do interstellar travel and flight. What was the reason for it? How do we justify it. This was a broad ranging discussion covering physics, financial issues, inspirational human goals, exploration, research, and even existential reasoning.  Again, you do not want to miss what we talked about.  Both Richard and I would like for you to share your thoughts with us on this topic so please post your thoughts and comments on TSS blog. 

Listeners sent in several emails during the program.  Linda wanted to know if it was possible to have interstellar human starship travel since most of the research seems focused on small mass objects such as the tiny wafers re the Breakthrough Project.  Richard referenced Dr. Lubin's work (see Lubin's Space Show programs from early 2016).  In addition, Richard talked about the financial resources needed for even the most basic type of interstellar flight, he went over the Breakthrough project explaining it to us, addressed the laser propulsion speed issue in that it would take on 10 minutes to get the wafers to about a quarter of light speed.  He addressed laser power issues for the wafer, then suggested what that would look like to send a human starship at those speeds on its way.  We also talked about the acceleration g force involved and what that might mean for humans.  The other issue was that as in the Breakthrough Project, the wafers do not slow down.  For human interstellar flight, slowing down at the destination presents all sorts of challenges.  Another part of Linda's question was an inquiry about the discovery of new physics which change the reality and offer us technology we don't know about today.  Richard was not sure about new physics, said we could do lots with our technology of today but said the books on physics are not closed and the field has probably only been explored at surface levels.  This led our guest to talk about chemical rockets, then other things we can do including fission, nuclear fusion (getting close), and anti-matter.  He spoke about our advancing technology and while some of this has a low TRL level today, it is in the realm of our capability today whereas FTL travel or something from the much talked about new physics is not even real at this time.  I asked Richard how anti-matter was created.  He gave us a brief general summary of it but Adrian sent in a more detailed email on this subject which I read on air. 

Richard then talked about nuclear pulse propulsion, Orion, Daedelus and the British Interplanetary Society early work in this area.  Our guest then mention the Medusa Sail project envisioned by Dr. Johndale Solem.  You can read about this at Centauri Dreams by Paul Gilster.  Check it out at  He described the Medusa Sail in general terms so don't miss what he said about this concept.  By the way, I am exploring the idea of inviting both Dr. Gilster and Dr. Solem as guests to The Space Show.  To maximize the potential of these and other guests, I may seek physics assistance in the form of a co-host.  Maybe Richard would be interested in such a role. 

Several listeners along with myself asked Richard for timelines for real interstellar flight.  Richard talked about how progress seemed to go in groups of years such as 25 years.  Then we notice it.  We don't seem to notice it on a slower, year by year schedule.   Richard then introduced the Maxwell Equations to the discussion.  You do not want to miss this part of the discussion.  FTL travel again came up.  In addition, our guest talked about the Casimir effect.  Richard took a question from Charlie asking about the potential of an interstellar focused career. Make sure you hear what Richard said in response to the question Charlie asked. 

Richard spoke about the multiple interstellar groups and advocacy organizations that are available that support and drive interest in this field.  Make sure you pay attention to the groups, blogs, and organizations he mentioned. Many of the people he mentioned have been guests on TSS so listen to their archived programs. 

Before the show ended, Connie in Houston asked Richard about time travel.  He said that it was possible to the future but not the way we probably think about time travel.  He explained what he meant by future time travel that even happens today to a limited degree. As for going into the past, he doubted it but did not rule anything out for the future though he was pretty certain due to paradoxes and other physics limitations, it would not happen.  Don't miss this discussion.

Please post your comments/questions for Richard on our blog.  You can reach him through me.




interstellar travel, theoretical physics, advanced propulsion & more

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11 Dec 2017 Dr. Richard Obousy
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