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Share Your Story • Roberto Flaibani • November 26, 2012


Terrorism, war, worldwide economical crisis. All human activities are suffering under the present crisis budget cutbacks, and space exploration has been afffected, too. What we need would be an interest that would refuel popular and scientific enthusiasm for space projects and explorations once again as during the 1960's and 1970's. Whe need an explosive target, something that no human being could ignore. We doesn't know where it is, but we do know how it should appear: it should be a luxuriant planet, filled by vegetable and animal life, immediately available for the human colonization. Its name is Pandora, that is the living planet of the sci-fi movie Avatar. I propose that NASA and ESA start an international astronomy program, called “Quest for Pandora” in order to detect, within 50 ly from the Sun or beyond, the so-called “Earth Analog” worlds. These are Earth-sized worlds circling a Sun-like star in an Earth-like orbit, and are the candidates to become targets for the future interstellar missions. The second step in my order of priorities is launching the so-called “FOCAL mission”. Shortly, that consists in carrying a 20 meters large radiotelescope to a distance of 550 AU (1 AU = 1,500,000 km) from Earth, to arrive at the sphere of focuses that is an effect of the gravitational lense of the Sun. There we'll get extremely accurate data on the "candidates" that are the planets from which one shall be chosen for our first interstellar mission. The last step is connecting, advocating and funding the efforts of 100YSS, Icarus Interstellar, Tau Zero Foundation, British Interplanetary Society, and any interested space related NGOs, in order to get the first interstellar starship ready to be launched within the next century. By the way, I think that the Planetary Society should get more involved in the interstellar projects in the future. I'd like also propose that Science-Fiction is taught at the highschools, colleges, and universities, as a kind of literature helpful in opening minds and developing creativity.

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