Tau Zero Foundation

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Tau Zero Foundation
Tau Zero.jpg
Motto: Ad astra incrementis
Type: Nonprofit
Industry: Interstellar spaceflight
Founded: April 24, 2006
Key people: Jeff Greason
Chairman of the Board
Christopher Altman
Director of the Board
Walter de Brouwer
Director of the Board
Website: tauzero.aero
Wormhole travel as envisioned by Les Bossinas for NASA

The Tau Zero Foundation, or Tau Zero Foundation for Interstellar Spaceflight, is a spinoff of the NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Program (BPP), a research project that ran from 1996 through 2002. NASA established the program to study proposals for revolutionary methods of spacecraft propulsion that would require breakthroughs in physics before they could be realized. During its six years of funding, the program was supported with a total investment of US $1.2 million.

NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics

The NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Program was a 1996–2002 research program that aimed to find ways to achieve interstellar spaceflight on realistic mass and energy timescales. The program examined propellantless propulsion, hyperfast travel, and breakthrough propulsion.[1] At the end of the project, four research avenues were identified as opportunities for continued research.[1][2]

Frontiers of Propulsion Science

After conclusion of NASA funding into the program, principal investigator Marc Millis and physicist Eric Davis documented the results in the book Frontiers of Propulsion Science, published in February 2009 by the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Its “Chapter 3: Prerequisites for Space Drive Science” provides a deeper explanation of several proposed spacecraft propulsion methods.

Nonprofit spinoff

Following the close of the program in 2002, Millis joined several project members to establish the Tau Zero Foundation, a nonprofit organization advocating research into interstellar travel. The name stems from the science fiction novel Tau Zero, which chronicles an interstellar voyage and the lives of its participants. Millis retired from NASA on February 3, 2010, continuing interstellar research at Tau Zero.

Notable Tau Zero leadership includes board directors Walter de Brouwer,[3] cofounder of Starlab, fellow Starlab alumnus and NASA-trained commercial astronaut, quantum technologist Christopher Altman;[4] founder of XCOR Aerospace, Jeff Greason joined as chairman of the board in 2017.

Interstellar Review

In April 2017, NASA awarded Tau Zero a $500,000 grant for the study of breakthrough propulsion programs in a funding proposal entitled Interstellar Propulsion Review.[5] A summary of work to date was given by Millis in a talk at the 2017 Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop, Breakthrough Propulsion Study.[6]

Media coverage

The foundation has been covered in press and publications including The New York Times,[7] Scientific American[8], Discover Magazine,[9] ABC News,[10] NBC News,[11] Fortune,[12] Forbes,[13][14][15][16][17] The Space Show,[18][19] Phys.org,[20] Centauri Dreams,[21] Seeker.com,[22] Popular Science,[23] Space.com,[24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31] Jezebel.com,[32] BigThink,[33] Futurism,[34][35] Next Big Future,[36][37][38] h+ Magazine,[39] Wired,[40] The Guardian,[41] China Daily,[42] Slate[43] and Spiegel.[44]

See also


  • Marc G. Millis, "The Challenge To Create The Space Drive", 1997, Journal of Propulsion and Power.
  • Marc G. Millis & Eric W. Davis (editors): Frontiers of Propulsion Science. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Reston VA, 2009, ISBN 978-1-56347-956-4 (739 pages).

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Prospects for Breakthrough Propulsion Physics
  2. Assessing Potential Propulsion Breakthroughs
  3. Lifeboat Foundation Bios: Walter de Brouwer, Tau Zero
  4. Tau Zero Foundation: Into the Second Decade
  5. NASA Awards Grant to Tau Zero Foundation
  6. Breakthrough Propulsion Study
  7. Overbyte, Dennis. “Offering Funds, U.S. Agency Dreams of Sending Humans to Stars”. nytimes.com 11 Aug 2011. New York Times.
  8. Apert, Mark. Warp Drive Research Key to Interstellar Travel. scientificamerican.com 23 Apr 2014. Scientific American.
  9. Where's My Warp Drive? | DiscoverMagazine.com
  10. Interstellar travel and the asteroid mining entrepreneurs
  11. NASA's Warp Drive? Starship Enterprise Makes a Virtual Splash - NBC News
  12. Cool Technologies to Look Forward to After VR
  13. How NASA Might Push Aerospace's Next Big Propulsion Breakthrough
  14. Lessons On Designing An Interstellar Probe
  15. Interstellar Defense Network Might Avert Real-Life 'Independence Day'
  16. Leaving Earth: Former NASA Rocket Scientist On The Politics Of Going Interstellar
  17. Seven Sci-Fi Scenarios For Interstellar Space Travel That Could Happen In This Century
  18. This Week On The Space Show | International Space Fellowship
  19. Here Is the Future of Interstellar Spacecraft
  20. Project Lyra, a mission to chase down that interstellar asteroid
  21. NASA Grant Award to Tau Zero Foundation
  22. Sizing Up the Daedalus Interstellar Spacecraft: Slide Show
  23. We Won't Have Enough Power For Interstellar Travel Until At Least 2211, According to New Calculations
  24. David, Leonard. “Futuristic Interstellar Space Probe Idea Revisited” space.com. 7 May 2010. Space.
  25. Does Humanity's Destiny Lie in Interstellar Space Travel? (Op-Ed)
  26. Incredible Technology: How to Make Interstellar Spaceflight a Reality
  27. Lasers Could Blast Tiny Spacecraft to the Stars
  28. NASA's 100-Year Starship Project Sets Sights on Interstellar Travel
  29. Boldly Go? Can Humanity Afford ‘Star Trek’-Like Space Exploration?
  30. Chasing Wormholes: The Hunt for Tunnels in Space-Time
  31. Futuristic Interstellar Space Probe Idea Revisited
  32. Aliens Real*
  33. Project Icarus: An Interstellar Mission
  34. A Quick Rundown of the Alcubierre "Warp Drive"
  35. What Is the Alcubierre "Warp" Drive?
  36. Space Experts Review EMDrive and give recommendations at Centauri Dreams | NextBigFuture.com
  37. Foxconn heading to nearly fully automated factories | NextBigFuture.com
  38. Icarus Interstellar has the X-Physics Propulsion & Power Project (XP4) and Mark Rademaker's visuals of based on the technical work of Sonny White | NextBigFuture.com
  39. All About Space Travel, Time Travel, Quantum Tunneling & Zero-G Sex - h+
  40. New Book: Warp Speed, Maybe
  41. As we begin to think of exoplanets as real worlds we could visit, we will want to go | Sarah Scoles
  42. Next stop, Alpha Centauri|Sunday Life|chinadaily.com.cn
  43. The 40-Year Itch
  44. Interstellare Reise: Pentagon plant