Dr. Odenwald has written two books on space travel based on his perspective as an astronomer. See a short FAQ selection at the bottom of this page!
This book describes the many astronomical and human-scale issues that make interstellar travel a formidable challenge, even with the right technology for making the actual trip. Since the 1920’s, science fiction authors have invented dozens of ways to make interstellar travel a reality. Sadly, after nearly 100 years of effort, scientists and engineers have yet to invent a single inexpensive technology to get us to the stars. What is more disturbing about this challenge is that the actual technology to make the trip is mostly irrelevant. Some of the issues are already known and being addressed such as: What will be our destination? How many travelers should go? What will happen to human health along the way? But the Big Picture of interstellar travel goes well beyond the design of the engines that power our starships.
The core questions are what they have always been: Where should we go? What will we do there? and How will it benefit folks back on Earth?
Interplanetary travel? No one ever thought it would be this hard, especially the folks that are not literally ‘rocket scientists’! Why is it that 50 years after the official start of the Space Age we do not have colonies on the moon and Mars already? Why are we still plodding along in Earth orbit? There are a million of these kinds of questions you can ask, but when you dig into their answers you uncover something very odd indeed. In my previous book ‘Interstellar Travel: An Astronomer’s Guide’ I laid out all of the astronomical challenges to interstellar travel and colonization. The bottom line was that this was an adventure filled with dreams but no technology to get us there. In this companion book, ‘Interplanetary Travel: An Astronomer’s Guide’, we discover that in fact we have all the technology we need to make it happen, but our current problem is we lack dreams.
Both books are available at amazon.com
FAQs about Space Travel
- How long will it take to get to each of the planets?
- What material is used to make spacecraft?
- How long would it take to get to the nearest star?
- How fast does a rocket have to travel to leave the atmosphere?
- At what speed does the interstellar medium become lethal to high speed flight?
- What happens when a human is exposed to a vacuum?