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Friends of the RAS (only) Lecture: interstellar flight: the benefit to Astrophysics
The Royal Astronomical Society
Burlington House
Start Time: 20 Jul 2017 - 13:00
End Time: 20 Jul 2017 - 14:00

Interstellar flight: the benefit to Astrophysics

Kelvin F. Long, Initiative for Interstellar Studies

(Friends of the RAS only - no booking required)


Long range observations by the field of astronomy has opened up our understanding of the Solar System, Galaxy and the wider Universe. In this talk we discuss the idea of direct in-situ reconnaissance of nearby stellar systems, using robotic probes. In particular, we consider what additional knowledge can be learned that can only be obtained by such close encounters. This work is in support of Project Starshot, an effort to send a Gram-scale probe towards another star at 0.2c within the next two decades, and return images and other data to the Earth.


Kelvin F. Long has a Bachelor's Degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Master's Degree in Astrophysics. He is a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, Chartered Member Institute of Physics and is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Initiative for Interstellar Studies (, a non-profit organisation that exists in both the United Kingdom and the United States. He is also the Managing Director of the Aerospace consultancy Stellar Engines Ltd. He is a published author and has published many papers on the subject of interstellar flight. He was formerly Chief Editor of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, and prior to this worked as a physicist for the Ministry of Defence for over a decade. He is also an amateur astronomer and owns a 9.25 inch CPC Schmidt-Cassegrain Celestron. His personal web site is


The lecture will be followed by a wine reception in the RAS Library.