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Speaking at last fall’s International Astronautical Congress in Prague, Tau Zero founder Marc Millis offered a condensed summary of the present state of the art in advanced propulsion physics, summarizing a variety of approaches and next-step questions from the book he co-edited with Eric Davis called Frontiers of Propulsion Science (2009). He’s now written a paper based on the presentation. It’s a useful distillation of an extremely detailed work (739 pages) and well worth scanning now that Millis has made it available on the arXiv site.

Quite a few propulsion concepts have gone through the early stages of the scientific process, with problems defined, data being collected and hypotheses formulated, and Millis also refers to those cases where ideas have progressed into the testing stage. He’s fascinated with the idea of using investigations into broad issues of cosmology to focus in on something far more utilitarian, the possible relevance of new observations for spaceflight. From the paper:

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Category: Science