Firstly, a warm welcome to Keith Cooper, who joins the team as an Associate Editor. Keith brings a wealth of experience with him, as the Editor for one of Britain’s leading Astronomy magazines, Astronomy Now. In this issue we continue the red cover theme of the previous issue, with a collection of World Ship papers from the 2011 BIS symposium “The Long Journey to the Stars”.
We begin with a paper by Pat Galea, who reminds us that the development of World Ship technology is not just all about the propulsion. In his paper he explores the concept of a Diasporanet – a high-speed interstellar internet, which connects a World Ship community over great distances of space and large durations of time.
The Enzmann Starship is a nuclear pulse propulsion concept that began to emerge during the 1960s and not much has been written about it. In this paper which focuses on the history and engineering, the author Adam Crowl and colleagues explores what is known about the concept and attempt to derive an approximate description. It is hoped that this will be a valuable contribution to the literature, clarifying the gaps in information that have existed for many decades.
We next have another paper in continuing the excellent series from Stephen Ashworth. He looks in detail at long-term growth prospects for planetary and space colonies. The paper predicts that a space-based mode of life may be expected to become the dominant lifestyle for advanced industrial civilisations, and that our species has the opportunity to create one of the first of these advanced space-based cultures, with “incalculable consequences for subsequent human and post-human history”. Stirring stuff. This paper makes for insightful reading and we hope to see more contributions from this author over the years.
Now for some announcements from the space world; In November 2012 we had the news from the UK Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts that the UK Space Agency is set to invest £1.2 billion into some of Europe’s space projects. This is great news for the UK space industry and represents progress on Britain’s journey to becoming a major contributor to both robotic and human spaceflight. We also had the announcement from the UK based company Reaction Engines Ltd that they had passed the latest phase of an ESA review into the SABRE engine pre-cooler design. This is very exciting and is a step forward towards the Skylon spaceplane achieving technological fruition in the near-future. The Journal of the British Interplanetary Society would like to congratulate this company on their success and also to acknowledge the hard won efforts of their founder and current Chief Engineer, Alan Bond. JBIS will be publishing a set of papers on Skylon in the near-future. One can’t help to feel positive about the future with these sorts of developments and there is an over riding sense of optimism that despite a poor world wide economy, things are changing for the better. As far as space exploration is concerned, the best is yet to come. Please enjoy this issue of your journal.
Kelvin F. Long, Editor JBIS