Events at “The Bridge”
The Interstellar Research Centre occasionally holds workshops to discuss subjects that are relevant to the seven defined questions. These take place in our meeting space known as ‘The Bridge’. Attendance is by invitation only and with notice given by advanced booking. There is no charge for attendance at the workshops, but to help cover costs participants are encouraged to donate £10 (per day of attendance) towards the costs of running the event, placed into a cash pot on the coffee table. However, if you want to come but cannot afford to contribute, then that is fine and come along anyway, but with prior agreement. Below are the currently planned events scheduled for 2019 and 2020. To attend an event contact us at:
Spring 2020 (date to be announced)
10:45 - 18:00, +Evening Dinner
“The Apkallu Initiative: A Project To Construct A Minilithic Artefact As a Communication to the Future In the Event of Global Cataclysm”
The Apkallu Initiative is a project to design a minilithic artefact as a form of communication of knowledge to the future in the event of a global cataclysm. It takes ideas from ancient megalithic structures and sacred geometry such as from Summeria, Egypt, Turkey and the Indus Valley, and in the context of possible existential threats to human existence. It then proposes to accelerate human population groups towards a civilised society by use of this technology. The project has been undergoing a broad public consultancy phase over the last year and this workshop represents the culmination of this phase. At the end of this workshop, decisions will be made on the type of material, shape and size of the artefact and also the type of knowledge that it should represent.
Featuring: to be announced
Summer 2020 (date yet to be announced)
08:45 - 18:00, +Evening dinner (day 1), 08:45 - 18:00 (day 2)
“Worm Holes and Warp Drive: Exotic Solutions of General Relativity That Change The Paradigm on Interstellar Transport Possibilities”
This is a workshop focussed on the application of General Relativity Theory and Quantum Field Theory to the engineering of space-time transport machines as mathematical constructs. In particular, we discuss the concept of traversable worm holes, and also the contacting/expanding space-time of warp drive. Both are discussed in light of recent theoretical and experimental developments in the Casimir effect as well as possibilities predicted from higher dimensional field theories. This meeting will take place over two days and feature presentations from numerous original thinkers. It will then feature a workshop session where delegates will attempt to describe what such machines would like look and characterise the emission spectrum if in operation in the Universe, based on the known laws of physics and conjectures just beyond them, as an application to SETI studies.
Featuring: Remo Garattini, Francisco Lobo, Kelvin F Long, Heidi Fearn, Harold ‘Sonny’ White…
Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th June 2020
09:45 - 18:00, +Evening Dinner (day 1), 08:45 - 17:00 (day 2)
“The Nature of Consciousness: Personal Observations From the Objective and Subjective Experience”
This is a workshop focussed on the issue of consciousness, or what has been referred to as the ‘hard problem’. Is consciousness merely a state of being aware of the existence of oneself and the external world (“Cognito, ergo sum”) or is it more sophisticated? Materialism asserts that matter is the fundamental substance of nature, and so consciousness is an emergent phenomenon of those material interactions and does not exist independently. Consciousness emerges as the complexity of the computations performed by the cerebral neurons. However, idealism asserts that the reality that we know is fundamentally a mental construction or immaterial. One of the leading hypotheses to explain consciousness is the Orchestrated Objective Reality (Orch OR) which asserts that consciousness is more than just computation but also understanding, and takes place at the sub-neuron level. In this workshop we will discuss all of this and other ideas and also be asking over what range of organisms does consciousness apply and indeed is it possible for non-organic matter (such as stars and galaxies) to exhibit consciousness-like characteristics? Taking the idea of consciousness to a vast scale moves us towards the idea of universal consciousness and that perhaps in the beginning appeared the first word (“Om”). In this workshop we are interested in pulling out people’s ideas, no matter how controversial, but also based on their personal experience and to see if we can achieve some consensus of understanding for a broader definition that goes beyond existing paradigms of thinking.
Featuring: Greg Matloff, Kelvin F Long, Rupert Sheldrake…
Saturday 4th January 2020
10:45 - 18:00, +Evening Dinner
“Interstellar Exploration & Colonisation: Implications to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty”
The Outer Space Treaty, formally called the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, was entered into law on the 10th October 1967. Currently 109 countries are party to the treaty, and a further 23 have signed the treaty but not ratified it. It is a good example of the possible benefit of international co-operation in space. However, it was written at a time when human beings were focussed on Earth orbit and the Moon and with possible consideration for some of the other planets. Any objective review of the treaty clearly shows that no consideration was given for the expansion of the human species out into the Cosmos and towards others stars – for both interstellar and intergalactic flight. In this workshop we will discuss the status and limitations of the treaty and co-ordinate a revised version to be submitted as a joint paper to the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, as a useful contribution to the discussions that are no doubt taking place in the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.
Featuring: Kelvin F Long, Rob Swinney…
Saturday 23rd November 2019
12:45 - 18:00, +Evening Dinner
“Becoming An Interplanetary & Interstellar Civilisation: The Key Geopolitical, Economic and Commercial Considerations”
The 1920s and 1930s saw a surge of interest in the exploration of space in Europe and in the United States. This then eventually led to the advent of the space age in the 1950s and 1960s between the United States and the then Soviet Union. Since then we have witnessed space stations in Earth orbit, boots on the lunar soil and interplanetary probes visiting all of the planets of our Solar System. We have also seen the launch of the Voyager probes in 1977 which have now left our Solar System. Fast forwarding to the early 21st Century, and we are now living in an age where there is a renewal of interest in sending humans back to the Moon and also a refocussing of long-term efforts towards landings on the planet Mars. In addition, we have seen new nations enter the activity of exploring space, including China and India, and the opening up of space to commercial ventures, to include asteroid mining operations and space tourism. Significant efforts have also been expended in reducing the cost to LEO, by using technology such as Single Stage to Orbit, or reusable rockets such as the SpaceX Falcon 9 or Blue Origins New Glenn. Both companies are also now looking at much larger launch vehicles, with the SpaceX Falcon Heavy which would transport 25 tons to LEO and the two-stage Blue Origin which would transport 45 tons to LEO. The US Space Agency NASA is also pursuing its Space Launch Vehicle (SLS) with a payload capacity to LEO of around 95 tons. Also in the Commercial sector, the Breakthrough Initiatives has launched Project Starshot, and has allocated $100 million of funding to investigate sending a Gram-scale probe towards another star in the next two decades. Other activities including the announcement in the United States of the Formation of a Space Force and also the passing of the Space Act into Law in 2015 which will permit companies to mine asteroids and own those resources. It is also clear that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty does not cover all of these issues and is in need of revision. Although historically NASA has not had an interstellar focus, in 2017 the US House of Representatives under the Chairman in charge of NASA appropriations, John Culberson did pass a bill mandating NASA to look at the problem of an interstellar mission to be launched by the year 2069, a century after the first landing of people on the Moon. That has led to a Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory study for a 1,000 AU probe that may be launched around 2030. What does all this mean for the future of human kind in space? How will nations co-operate together or even compete? How do we avoid conflicts in the future? How do we use space resources to improve the well-being of human civilisation and create prosperity for all? What are the critical bottlenecks for success and failure? Finally, what does this all mean for our ability to transition from an interplanetary species to one that goes on to colonise the space around other stars – the ultimate goal of interstellar exploration?
Featuring: Kelvin F Long, David Baker, Rob Swinney, Richard Osborne, Stephen Ashworth…
Saturday 12th October 2019
10:45 - 18:00, +Evening Dinner
“Project Icarus Concept Design Fusion Ignition Physics & Engineering Propulsion Workshop”
This is a workshop focussed on the fusion physics issues relevant to Project Icarus. This is a theoretical design study launched in 2009 to re-design the Project Daedalus spacecraft. The project is nearing completion but there are some issues on closing out the design concept for the Resolution and Endeavour concepts and the purpose of this workshop is to help bring that work to a close so that the project can be published and completed. The focus of this meeting is on the fusion ignition system and also the power, thermal management and fuel storage/acquisition so it is a propulsion specific meting and we will not be discussing other issues such as communications, science instruments or the payload other than from a top level. Several external people have also been invited to add additional input to the discussions focussed around fusion propulsion designs. The meeting will be chaired by Rob Swinney who is the Project Leader for Project Icarus. This is a working level meeting to facilitate discussions on the physics and engineering issues. Tea, coffee and light snacks will be provided. Dinner is pay for own meal. Project Icarus is an initiative of the British Interplanetary Society to design an interstellar probe.
Featuring: Kelvin F Long, Rob Swinney, Richard Osborne…