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From the book reviews:
“This is a readable, insightful and personal history of interstellar travel thinking with a focus on propulsion … . each chapter has an ‘introduction’ providing a short overview of the chapter while the ‘practice exercises’ at the end are to stimulate discussion. … The theoretical background presented here by Long deserves to be read and the bibliography deserves to be considered as a starting point for anyone interested in these topics. The colour illustrations are very helpful.” (Anders Hansson, The Aeronautical Journal, November, 2014)“Kelvin has taken the reader from the basic, simple principles of reaction propulsion … and on to the exotic world of deep-space journeys. … The most valuable aspect of this book is that it never bucks difficult issues … . If there is one book from which to gather all essential aspects of deep-space propulsion and stellar transportation systems this is it. It is both required reading and an essential reference … . useful for the layreader and the professional.” (Spaceflight, Vol. 54 (7), July, 2012)
As humans take their first tentative steps off our home planet, and debate the costs/benefits of sending people back to the Moon and perhaps on to Mars, we must also start to make plans for the day when we will venture forth as pioneers farther out into the Solar System and beyond - perhaps far, far beyond - to explore and settle new worlds around other stars. It is vital that we develop the deep space propulsion technologies that will take us there, first to explore with robotic probes, then to follow ourselves. This is necessary so that if anything catastrophic happened to Earth, our species would survive. And the possibilities for catastrophe are great. An impacting asteroid ended the reign of the dinosaurs, and today we have many other threats such as global war, climate change, pollution, resource limitations and overpopulation.
In this book, Kelvin F. Long takes us on all the possible journeys - the mission targets, the technologies we might use to power such journeys, and what scientific knowledge we are seeking to obtain upon arriving there.
Despite the problems of today it is important that we take a long-term view for the future of our species. In fact, the only way to assure a future is to start planning for it now and then progress incrementally. Today, society is not in a position to launch the types of missions outlined in this book, mainly due to a lack of political motivations to try and the economic cost for launching it. But if we start to develop these technologies today, then it is likely that one of them will come to technological maturity at some point in the coming centuries and will power our species to the stars. Our commitment today to achieve near-term goals will ensure a tomorrow for the generations ahead.