From the Publisher
The first popular compilation, in book form, of scientific and engineering knowledge about interstellar travel. A working guide for the would-be star traveler, this book concentrates on current and proposed propulsion systems that might be applied to starflight. Provides a compendium of interstellar concepts, formulas, and reference material, including discussions of interstellar navigation, communication systems for sending data, relativistic effects in starflight, and effects of the interstellar medium. Mathematical and other detailed technical developments are separated from the main text, relegating them to accessible ^boxes that can be glanced over.
From the Inside Flap
From the Tower of Babel to the Starship Enterprise, some part of our collective mind has always been at work scheming of ways to storm the heavens and reach the stars. Now, as we approach a time when the future of our species may depend upon more than what our beautiful but meager portion of galactic real estate offers, we are, fortunately, closer than ever to fulfilling that age-old ambition. But beyond the known planets, our closest extrasolar neighbor is 270,000 times more distant than the Sun, and bridging the vast distances to the fertile worlds that may lay beyond our Solar System will require radically new technologiestechnologies as different from current capabilities as was Apollo 11 from The Spirit of St. Louis. The technological revolution that began in 1957, when Sputnik I pierced the atmosphere and made its way into Earth orbit, is really only the prelude to the much grander story of interstellar travel. The Starflight Handbook is the first compendium on planet Earth of the many and varied approaches to starflight now on the drawing boards of some of our most talented scientists and engineers. In an easy, nontechnical style, the authors offer in-depth discussions of everything from nuclear pulse propulsion engines to interstellar navigation systems, while detailed technical and mathematical information is reserved for sidebars and special appendices. Interwoven through the text are historical perspectives as well as related social and cultural considerations about the necessity and feasibility of starflight within the next quarter to half century. Generous coverage is given to interstellar propulsion schemes of all kinds; space-time problems in starflight; long-range, star to Earth communications; effects of the interstellar medium on people and machines; scientific payloads; interstellar arks and colonies; and techniques for spotting extrasolar planets. Throughout, the text is liberally sprinkled with elegant and enlightening illustrations depicting many of the ingenious and fantastic designs for starships and their hardware. The Starflight Handbook belongs on the shelf of anyone who has ever given thought to mankinds destiny in space. Specialists and laymen, astronomers, and science fiction buffs alike will appreciate its wealth of detailed information and its graphic presentations.