I've been fortunate to work on some very interesting projects and technologies -- and, at times, the media have taken interest.
Les, Michio Kaku and others decribe how humanity may one day reach the stars.
Les was a consultant (and interviewed for) NatGeo's program focusing on different ways the world as we know it might end -- and how we might actually survive the apocalypse.
Humanity is on a path that can take us to the stars – if we don’t stop dreaming big and taking chances. The laws of physics don’t say that interstellar travel is impossible; it is simply very difficult. In the past, this was viewed as a challenge. We’ve smashed atoms, covered continents with roads, explored the most inhospitable places on Earth, and sent people to the Moon and robots to the edge of the solar system. But that was yesterday. What about tomorrow? We’re discovering that the universe is not only full of stars, but planets as well – most likely billions of them. We didn’t discover the first planet beyond our solar system until 1992 and today we’ve found thousands. We don’t need warp drive or worm holes to reach the stars – we just need to use the known laws of physics and think BIG.
Les was the 2nd speaker at the 2013 Icarus Interstellar Congress. His talk begins at 1:19 in the linked YouTube video.
And is now advising for another movie coming soon...
Les was interviewed for this "Encyclopedia Galactica" of non-Earth life forms, and an investigation into the latest scientific understanding of life beyond planet Earth. ALIENS: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE showcases the scientists who are currently grappling with extraordinary questions about alien life including: what will aliens really look like?; how will they sound?; how might they get here? what might their words look like; and, of course, will they come in peace? This two-part special takes viewers to stunning, remote locations on Earth as well as elsewhere in the universe.
If we faced a countdown to destruction, could we build a spacecraft to take us to new and habitable worlds? Can we Evacuate Earth? NGC's two-hour special examines this terrifying but scientifically plausible scenario by exploring how we could unite to ensure the survival of the human race. If you want to know my favorite way to take us to the stars, then watch the show and find out...
I am honored to be featured as an interstellar explorer in the January 2013 issue of National Geographic Magazine "125th Anniversary Special Issue - Why We Explore."
Les was the "Making EVE Real" speaker at EVE Vegas 2013. Discovery.com wrote an excellent article about his talk (which is now posted on YouTube).
Les appeared in 3 (of 5) episodes of the The Science Channel series, "Exodus Earth." They interviewed me last fall about solar sails, aerocapture, and the feasibility of interstellar travel.
Les was one of many scientists and engineers interviewed for this documentary in which we describe how we might one day travel to another star. Segments of the interview were used in their "Saucer Tech" series, interwoven with stories of UFO sightings. While I don't believe we are being visited by aliens, the documentary is still interesting. If you would like to learn more, click here.
Space is a visually impressive six-part popular science series from the BBC. Sam Neill is our earthbound anchor, and he takes the viewer on journeys across the universe in each half-hour segment, thanks to some nifty special effects. Like Carl Sagan's pioneering Cosmos from 1980, Space delves in to the mysteries of how stars and planets were created; but unlike Sagan's visionary and optimistic view of cosmic wonders, Space is astronomy for the Age of Anxiety, revealing with terrifying clarity and in graphic detail how fortunate we are to exist at all, and how it could all end at any moment as a result of space-bound monsters like rogue comets and asteroids that might crash into our planet; or, the worst horror of the universe, wandering black holes that could tear our sun apart. The series finds cause for optimism with Star Trek-style speculations on the development of Ion-drive and solar-powered spaceships (guess who was interviewed for this segment?), terraforming new worlds and wormhole technology that might, just might, allow humanity to escape from Earth.
January 31, 2013, "NASA Solar Sail, Largest Ever Made, To Be Launched In 2014"
March 13, 2013, "Nasa 'Advanced Concepts' Office Imagines Solar Sail Craft 'The Size Of Texas'"
September 23, 2013, "Solar Sail-Powered Starships May Be Key To Interstellar Spaceflight"
September 16, 2013, "Incredible Technology: How Solar Sails Could Propel the First Starships"
Sail World, "Sailing space to discover new worlds"
Hear Les' interview about interstellar travel on PRI's Science Friday
News coverage of his talk can be found here:
Les' popular science articles from Baen: