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From the reviews:
"Science and SF writer Gilster’s latest isn’t only an enlightening tour of propulsion and communication systems and the materials that might take us (in unmanned or even manned probes) to Centauri triple-star system 4.3 light years away (nearby in interstellar terms). The book is also a plea to remember that the urge to explore the unknown is what makes us human and that the future may not be as far away as we think. What separates this work from many scientific explorations of topics typically relegated to science fiction is that none of the methods described require breakthroughs in physics: we need no faster-than-light travel, no warp drive, no hyperspace or wormholes. All today’s scientists need is the time, funding, and license to turn their thought experiments into engineering problems. Like a master kite flyer, Gilster slowly lets out the line and allows the magnificent dreams of interstellar flight to soar – describing the relevant technologies we already possess – then he reels readers back in by pointing out the lack of funding and distance these theories still need to go before becoming reality. The technologies include sails that capture light instead of wind; a combination of fusion and antimatter reactions; and artificially intelligent computer systems that evolve over time. Metaphors and examples based on common experience put the science in perspective. This work is not only a clear, well-thought-out explanation of theoretical science and engineering but also food for the soul of anyone who has ever thought that space is a great adventure waiting to happen." – Publishers Weekly, Jan. 10, 2005
"Paul Gilster is fascinated by interstellar space flight – not the Star Trek kind, but the real thing. He takes the reader on a tour of plans being developed quietly at NASA and other space agencies for sending an unmanned probe to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star. Extensive notes capably steer readers into the technical literature. Call this book science-fiction-for-real." – Astronomy, March 2005
"Gilster takes readers on leaps of imagination beyond the probable, past the unlikely, skirting the unbelievable, through the land of supposed impossibility, into the future where, one way or another, humanity will be pursuing 'Centauri Dreams,' or, as the subtitle states, 'Imagining and Planning Interstellar Exploration.'" -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Centauri Dreams is a look at the state of the art as-yet hypothetical technology needed to take us to Earth’s second-closest star. … Author Gilster examines the possibilities with a sure-handed humor liberally illustrated with interviews with real-life experts and examples from the great science-fiction stories of Anderson, Sterling, and Clarke." (Sci Fi, 2005)
"Paul Gilster is fascinated by interstellar space flight – not the Star Trek kind, but the real thing. He takes the reader on a tour of plans being developed quietly at NASA and other space agencies … . Extensive notes capably steer readers into the technical literature." (Astronomy, March, 2005)
"‘Centauri Dreams’ consists of a thorough analysis of the alternative propulsion technologies … . This analysis is tastefully interspersed with numerous references to science-fiction ideas and writers, reflecting Gilster’s wide ranging knowledge of real science and his passion for science fiction literature. … This book is very well researched, and was for me an enjoyable read, one that I’m sure will be well enjoyed by science-fiction aficionados and hard-nosed realists alike!" (Gerard Mc Mahon, Astronomy & Space, April, 2006)
"Centauri Dreams provides a … thorough and up-to-date review of the various interstellar-travel concepts to be found in the literature. … By and large the author does a good job describing complicated concepts … . I can recommend Centauri Dreams to anyone seeking a non-technical summary of interstellar-travel concepts as they stand at the beginning of the 21st century." (Ian Crawford, The Observatory, Vol. 125 (1188), 2005)
"Paul Gilster explains some of the ongoing research … that may one day lead to an unmanned, possibly even robotic or manned, space probe being sent to Alpha Centauri, the nearest bright star outside of our solar system. … Centauri Dreams … contains thirty pages of notes that enhance the reading. General audiences and professionals will find this book a fascinating read about the possibilities of future interstellar travel." (Alvin K. Benson, Salem Press, September, 2005)
"The fastest manmade vehicle is now Voyager 1, heading out of the solar system. It could cross the US in less than four minutes. Even at that speed it will take 70,000 years to reach the nearest star, Alpha Centauri. … Paul Gilster’s book explores the terrain at the frontiers of hard logic and hairy thinking. Interstellar travel is now part of imagination’s landscape. … The interstellar idea, says Gilster, in this exhilarating book, is taking shape." (Tim Radford, The Guardian, March, 2005)
Always wondering what people have in mind for the future when they can put their mind to it.Published 1 month ago by RW
You need the basics to understand the depth of the question of the dreams of our futures desires. One small step was just the beginning.Published on February 17, 2013 by Amazon Customer
I have read Robert Forward's books and this one continues the trend of informative books on the potential for deep space probes.Published on January 2, 2013 by M&M
In this book, the authors surveys the state of the art in unmanned probes to Alpha Centauri, from the gigantic Daedalus probe, to tiny,nanomechanical needle probes,which would... Read morePublished on December 23, 2012 by James F. Mcenanly
yes indeed this proves to be a well researched book. imaginative and captivating. the chapters are well arranged and follow human linear thought processes nicely. Read morePublished on March 19, 2012 by dream factory
How long would it take the space shuttle to go one light-year? The shuttle orbits the Earth at about 5 miles per second (18,000 mph). Read morePublished on December 4, 2011 by Chai
A well researched book that takes a realistic look at how we might one day explore the nearest stars. And this is a very big
dream indeed. Read more
What we have here is a reporter that is surveying what many scientist and engineers are planning for a spaceship to the closest stars based on current technology. Read morePublished on May 4, 2007 by BernardZ
Centauri Dreams was a fun book for the futurist some time ago. The book enables the reader to let go into the future and think about interstellar space travel. Read morePublished on January 6, 2007 by Jack Kennedy Jr.