Mention Robert Zubrin’s name and the planet Mars invariably comes up, given his long-time work on finding ways to establish a human presence there. Dr. Zubrin is the originator of Mars Direct, the author of The Case for Mars, and founder of the Mars Society. But his work on interstellar matters is likewise significant, including the analysis, with Dana Andrews, of the Bussard ramjet, which taught us much about magsails and drag, offering a useful way to re-think starship braking at destination. Another key Zubrin creation is the nuclear salt water rocket concept. With over 200 papers and five books to his credit, he runs Pioneer Astronautics, where he continues to focus on innovative aerospace technologies. Today’s essay goes in another direction, with a fresh look at interstellar communications using microscopic data carriers. Ponder now how information can be conveyed star to star, and how we might find it by methods far removed from conventional SETI.
by Robert Zubrin
Since the dawn of the SETI effort in 1960, it has been generally assumed that the transmission of information across interstellar distances can most practically be accomplished using electromagnetic waves, with the most popular candidate method being radio in ...