I’ve gotten so used to thinking ‘maybe this will be the year when the first Alpha Centauri planet is discovered’ that I almost said it again about 2013. Fortunately, we already have a (still unconfirmed) Centauri B b, and the latest I’ve heard is that it may take five years or so before we can say something definitive about a planet in a habitable zone orbit around our neighboring system. So the coming year may not be the year of Alpha Centauri, but we can expect exoplanet news in abundance as the various teams continue their work, and plenty of activity from the organizations now working to advance the idea of interstellar flight through papers, conferences and commentary. Let me wish all Centauri Dreams readers the best for a dazzling new trip around the Sun.
In Centauri Dreams, Paul Gilster looks at peer-reviewed research on deep space exploration, with an eye toward interstellar possibilities. For many years this site coordinated its efforts with the Tau Zero Foundation. It now serves as an independent forum for deep space news and ideas. In the logo above, the leftmost star is Alpha Centauri, a triple system closer than any other star, and a primary target for early interstellar probes. To its right is Beta Centauri (not a part of the Alpha Centauri system), with Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon Crucis, stars in the Southern Cross, visible at the far right (image courtesy of Marco Lorenzi).
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