StarTalk Radio –“Real Science Behind StarTrek”: Search for Civilizations in the Alpha Quadrant to the Galactic Barrier (LISTEN)



Join in on the first StarTalk All-Stars Live!, recorded at StarTalk’s panel at the Star Trek Mission: New York 50th Anniversary convention. The show features Andrew Fazekas, astronomy journalist and author of Star Trek: The Official Guide to Our Universe: The True Science behind the Starship Voyages. Plus, in her second StarTalk appearance, our newest All-Stars host, Columbia University astrophysicist Summer Ash.

To start, the panel goes where no non-fictional human has gone before: seeking out new life and new civilizations beyond our solar system. You’ll find out what the Alpha Quadrant really is, why everyone is so excited about Proxima B, in the “goldilocks zone” around Proxima Centauri, and why even in Star Trek, and even with warp drive, the USS Enterprise has almost never left the Milky Way.
Speaking of warp drive, how might it actually work? Summer explains how Einstein’s theory of gravitation tells us that massive objects warp spacetime, and Charles describes Miguel Alcubierre’s 1994 paper speculating on how something in an “asymmetric bubble” could move through space faster than the speed of light.

You’ll also hear about the physics of artificial gravity, radio waves and radio astronomy, Voyager 1, detecting gravitational waves and black holes, SETI, first contact and what Charles will be doing on April 5, 2063.

Plus, the panel ponders phasers, transporters, replicators, subspace communication, Class M planets, and some of Star Trek’s “science” that has always bothered them: stardates, the “galactic barrier,” cosmic strings and quantum filaments, gravitons, and why “removing excess baryons” might not be such a good idea.

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