That US behemoth, DARPA – Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency aka the Department of Everything – has teamed up with that other US giant, the fiscally challenged NASA to create a program that would see interstellar travel within the next 100 years. The duo have awarded $US500,00 in seed funding to the Dorothy Jemison Foundation to form the aptly named 100 Year Starship – 100YSS – program.
The initiative will call on expert opinion from a wide range of disciplines, engineers, scientists and artists will contribute to a single shared vision, to develop the capability for mankind to achieve interstellar flight within the next 100 years.
A public symposium will be held this year, in Houston, Texas from September 14 to 16. In what will become an annual event. Has the real world finally caught up with the strangely accurate transfictontrek world of Gene Roddenberry? ::::
As NASA Voyager 1 probe, passes the outermost layer of the heliosphere, the boundary between our Solar System and Interstellar Space, the car-size probe is set to be the first man made object to leave this Solar System. It’s taken the probe over 35 years to reach its current point, at its current speed of about 334,640,905 miles per year will take over 75,000 years to reach our nearest star, Proxima Centauri.
Despite these mind-bending distances, DARPA has awarded funding to form the organisation whose aim is to make human interstellar travel a reality within the next century.
“We’re embarking on a journey across time and space” said Dr. Mae Jamison, a former NASA astronaut, creator of the winning 100YSS proposal and head of the new organisation. “100 Year Starship is about building the tools we need to travel to another star system in the next 100 years.”
Over the coming year, the organisation will focus on searching out investors, business visionaries who can see a future in space.
The public symposium will be held this year in Houston, Texas from September 14 to 16. In what will become an annual event. In the lead-up to awarding the funding, DARPA has held similar events in past years, last years event was in Orlando, Florida and floated some of the basic questions. This year organisers will be calling for scientific papers and engineering proposals to get the ship off the ground. As well, 100YSS is looking at longer term solutions to the array of philosophical dilemmas that are sure to arise from such a long journey
100YSS has a Call For Papers Notification on their web-site: http://100yss.org
“If my language is dramatic, it is because the project is monumental. This is global aspiration. And each step of the way, its progress will benefit life on Earth” Dr. Jemison said ” Our team is both invigorated and sobered by the confidence DARPA has in us to start an independent, private initiative to help make interstellar travel a reality.”
The 100YSS Symposium 2012’s theme – Transition to Transformation. The Journey Begins – acknowledges the accomplishments of space exploration to date and calls for authors to consider what changes are needed in how we currently envision and “do space” to truly push forward humanity’s journey to another star. Discussions this year should focus within each topical track on those transformative ideas and processes that make the leap to new breakthroughs. Papers accepted will be included in the 100YSS 2012 Symposium Proceedings and may be considered for publication in the coming Journal of Interstellar Studies.