Humans have sent probes to planets and asteroids throughout our solar system. But we’ve never come close to propelling a manmade object as far as another star.
But if NASA and DARPA – the agency responsible for some of the early innovations that led to the Internet – have their way, in the next 100 years, a spaceship would stand ready to visit another star.
The two agencies have teamed up on a 1 million-dollar project called the 100-Year Starship Study to begin contemplating technologies and organizational strategies to make the mission happen.
Called the 100-Year Starship Symposium, the public event will run Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 in Orlando, Fla.
For three days, scientists from universities, NASA centers and private institutions will discuss the merits of fusion versus nuclear thermal propulsion, as well as the social and psychological implications of sending humans on a one-way mission to the stars.
Religious and philosophical aspects of interstellar travel will also be discussed.
“Through this effort, DARPA seeks to inspire several generations to commit to the research and development of breakthrough technologies and cross-cutting innovations across myriad disciplines,” they added.
But a note to would-be space travellers: It’s too soon to sign up for the trip.
“Neither DARPA nor NASA are actually building a 100-Year Starship,” DARPA officials wrote.
“We are planting seeds for an organization. Consequently we are not taking starship crew applications at the present time.”