NASA aerospace technologist Les Johnson discusses technologies for making travel to other star systems possible. Some possibilities he will discuss are propulsion systems based on antimatter-matter annihilation, nuclear fusion, atomic warheads, and laser power. Mr Johnson is an excellent speaker and has made presentations at both TEDx and Google[X].
Aside from his day-job at NASA, our guest is also a science fiction and popular science author and we will be offering two of his books for sale as part of this event. The first book is called “Going Interstellar” and is a compendium of nonfiction essays and (fictional) short stories about interstellar travel by a variety of authors. The other is his latest work of science fiction, called “On To The Asteroid”. This book is centered around the hopes and hazards of near-future space industrialization, which includes bringing asteroids closer to Earth for mining – an idea that is tantalizingly simple but far more difficult and dangerous than it appears. We will be selling paperback copies of “Going Interstellar” for $6 and hard-bound copies of “On To The Asteroid” for $20.
Les Johnson is the Technical Assistant for the Advanced Concepts Office at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. He is also the Chair of the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop, which is an interdisciplinary forum for exploring the “multifaceted challenges of journeying beyond Earth’s solar system”. He is the Principal Investigator for NASA’s Near Earth Asteroid Scout solar sail mission, which is scheduled to launch next year. He holds several patents and has received NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal three times. He is a proud member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the British Interplanetary Society, the National Space Society, and MENSA.