Starship Congress: A Very Human Interstellar Journey

It can be hard to justify the need to explore interstellar space, but on Aug. 15-18 nearly 200 interstellar scientists, engineers, astronomers, historians, economists, architects, artists, anthropologists and enthusiasts descended on Dallas, Texas, for the first Starship Congress, a meeting organized by the non-profit organization Icarus Interstellar, to explore the possibility. Read more…


Project Voyager, and How We Get To the Stars

From the StarTalk Radio Blog: 

Today’s guest post is from Zach Fejes, a recent graduate of the University of Toronto who wanted a career in the space industry and ended up creating his own job. Zach is the Project Lead for Project Voyager associated with Icarus Interstellar. Voyager is an R&D project to create next generation mission planning software enabling the advancement of space exploration, and education. His team is made up entirely of student volunteers with a deep passion for space. If you’d like to get in touch, you can find him on twitter: @zachfejes, or via email:

As far back as I can remember, I have wanted to explore the universe. I’ve wanted to set foot on new worlds, and to look out the window of a spaceship and see nothing but stars. The pursuit of these dreams drove me to study engineering in university. The next step, I knew, would be to find a way into the space industry.

But, for a student – and in particular, a non-American student – jobs in the space industry are rare and difficult to come by. I decided that the best way forward was to hone the skills that would be relevant to a space industry career. So, in my third year of studies at the University of Toronto, I started a small coding project to simulate the motions of the planets, in order to expand my knowledge of orbital mechanics.

That summer, I saved up my earnings and went down to Texas for Icarus Interstellar’s first Starship Congress. Icarus is an international research organization dedicated to the development of interstellar travel. I was hoping for a chance to speak with a scientist whose research I had been following for years, but as it turned out, he was practically the only person at the conference I didn’t end up speaking with. I was introduced to many of the scientists and engineers who do research with Icarus – professionals who research deep space exploration! How cool is that? The conference served to reinvigorate my excitement for space travel, which I sorely needed after several dispiriting years of electrical engineering.

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