In this issue, you will read about highlights of the Third TVIW by Paul A. Gilster, announcement of the Fourth TVIW and updates on the TVIW, Inc. Board of Directors and our 2014 financial summary. We will wrap up the newsletter with a technical note on Project Icarus "Firefly" Update by Robert Freeland. Click Here to Read It.
Videos of the TVIW 2014 presentations, public outreach events and tours, are now available. You can access the list of presentations here or navigate to [ TVIW 2014 / Presentation Videos ] using the Navigation Menu on the Left.
On the behalf of the TVIW Board of Directors and TVIW 2014 Organizing Committee, we
would like to thank you, our attendees, sponsors, and honor guests for
making TVIW 2014 a success!
TVIW will return in TVIW 4 at the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel and Convention Center, Chattanooga, Tennessee in February 2016. Stay tuned!
In the early 1960s, UCLA graduate student Michael Minovitch sat
behind what was then the world's fastest computer fastidiously
working on solving one of the most troublesome problems in celestial
mechanics -- the "three body problem."
Last Wednesday [Nov. 10, 2014], decades after providing a solution that has helped send numerous spacecraft on interstellar journeys, Minovitch stood with pen in hand after signing ORNL's supercomputer. It also happened to be the day the European Space Agency landed a probe
Before Minovitch, the "three body problem," which refers to the gravitational influences two astronomical bodies such as the sun and a planet exert on a third -- an asteroid for instance -- had perplexed scientists since Isaac Newton's time. Additionally, in the early years of space exploration, the outer planets were considered too distant to reach, as the sun's gravitational pull required a space-going vessel to have more rocket propellant than was realistic.
While at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Minovitch coded equations and ran simulations that gave him insight into the "three body problem." He applied his research to another interstellar body -- spacecraft -- and found that if a craft flew close enough to a planet orbiting the sun, some of the planet's orbital speed could be used to slingshot it away from the sun, eliminating the need for additional fuel and opening up the outer solar system to human exploration.
The stars aligned in the late 1970s when another JPL researcher, Gary Flandro, found that Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune would all be located on the same side of the solar system. With Minovitch's slingshot trajectory discovery in mind, NASA launched the Voyager missions.
In 2012, Voyager 1 left the solar system, and Voyager 2 follows close behind. Other great planetary missions -- Mariner, Pioneer and Cassini -- have also used Minovitch's slinghshot solution.
Minovitch stopped by the Lab while attending the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop in Oak Ridge. -- Chris Samoray
Reprinted with permission of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, DOE.
The Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop is a not-for-profit scientific-education corporation in the state of Tennessee. It was conceived by Les Johnson, Greg Matloff, and Robert Kennedy, on a sunny Wednesday morning, July 13, 2011, on the patio of a charming little hotel (which no longer exists, regrettably) in the ancient city of Aosta in the Italian Alps, at the conclusion of the IAA's 7th Biennial Symposium on Realistic Near-Term Scientific Space Missions. As Les eloquently put it:
"The Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop is an opportunity for relaxed sharing of ideas in directions that will stimulate and encourage Interstellar exploration including propulsion, communications, and research. The 'Workshop' theme suggests that the direction should go beyond that of a 'conference'. Attendees are encouraged to not only present intellectual concepts but to develop these concepts to suggest projects, collaboration, active research and mission planning. It should be a time for engaging discussions, thought-provoking ideas, and boundless optimism contemplating a future that may one day be within the reach of humanity."
Though the TVIW concept was explicitly intended to be regional (viz., the American Southeast), it in fact acquired an international flair from the beginning, with the immediate participation of Dr. Claudio Maccone of Italy (sitting at the same table with the founders in Aosta in fact) as well as the invited all-expenses-paid presentation of one of our geoengineering papers to their national weather service and Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow in November 2011 just three weeks before the workshop itself. Since then, international participation has grown, for example the full involvement and support of the prestigious British Interplanetary Society, as well as the Initiative for Interstellar Studies and Icarus Interstellar. This is all to the good, but its heart is still in the Tennessee Valley.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ TNValleyInterstellarWorkshop
Twitter: @TVIWUS #TVIW