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Breakthrough Propulsion Physics

Millis Bio


Bio: Marc Millis 11.19.2008

Marc G. Millis

AST / Propulsion Physics
NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field
21000 Brookpark Rd., MS 86-2
Cleveland, OH 44135-3191

Marc Millis is NASA's leading expert on Breakthrough Propulsion Physics - covering such visionary goals as gravity control, space drives, and faster-than-light travel. This topic requires a challenging blend of vision and rigor to identify and chip away at the relevant unknowns. When funded (1996-2002), the Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project assessed 8 different research approaches and documented its findings in 16 peer-reviewed journal reports. With NASA's emphasis on returning to the Moon, this work is no longer supported.

Millis joined Cleveland's Glenn Research Center in 1982 after earning a degree in Physics from Georgia Tech. His assignments evolved from engineering support into research and eventually into project management. The work spanned designing ion thrusters, electronics for rocket monitoring, rocket fuel equipment, and even a cockpit display that guides aircraft flights to create weightlessness. All the while Millis spent his discretionary time pondering how to make rocketry obsolete, which eventually led to the creation of the Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project. This work gained wide public attention, being cited in Newsweek, Wired, Popular Science (May 2001 cover), New York Times and most recently in the books Centauri Dreams (Gilster 2004) and in I'm Working On That (Shatner & Walter 2002). This work also earned Millis a nomination for a 2004 World Technology Award. Millis recently completed a Masters of Science degree in Physics Entrepreneurship from Case Western Reserve University (2006) and is an alumnus of the International Space University Summer Session (1998).

Millis pursues futuristic visions outside of NASA too. Leveraging the allure of science fiction beyond what can be done in government and academia, Millis founded the nonprofit Tau Zero Foundation in 2006, to accelerate progress and education toward practical interstellar flight. In 2005, Millis authored: "Making the jump to light-speed" a chapter in the National Geographic book: Star Wars - Where Science Meets Imagination. For hobbies, Millis enjoys craftsmanship; building award-winning scale models, Halloween costumes, and other mischief. With specialties in science fiction models built from scrap plastic and 1960's slot cars, he occasionally publishes “how-to” articles and photographs. Amidst all of this, Millis enjoys time as a husband and father.

Sample Publications

Extracurricular Publications

  • Millis, M. G. (2005) Making the Jump to Light-Speed. Star Wars - Where Science Meets Imagination, Ed Rodley (ed.) National Geographic: 46-63.
  • Millis, M. (2003) Your Tracks: Vintage Point Raceway. Model Car Racing, 2(3) (Issue 9 May/June): 32-35.
  • Millis, M. G. (1996) Making Galileo Accurate. Famous Spaceships of Fact and Fantasy, 2nd Ed. Terry Spohn (ed.), Kalmbach Publishing Co: 63-66.
  • Millis, M., (1995) Scrap Building Fictional Models. International Plastic Modeler’s Society /USA Journal, 7(2) (Jan-Feb): 19-23.Millis, M. 1991. Lone Wolf (photo). FineScale Modeler, 9(7) (Nov): 61.
  • Millis, M. (1992) Building a fantasy AeroTank in 1/25 scale. FineScale Modeler, 10(1) (Jan): 78-79.