posted on May, 24 2012 @ 03:14 PM
TextThe Washington Post, Wednesday, May 23, 2012 --- by Brian Vastag
"Humanity's journey to the stars is beginning with ... a modest government grant.
The dreamers at the Defense Advanced Research Agency last week announced an award of $500,000 to a former astronaut [ Mae Jemision,] to someday ---
send explorers to another star system.
It's a huge job, impractical with existing technology. That's why the 100 Year Starship Study project will start by building a community of space
enthusiasts, engineers, technologists, futurists, scientists and dreamers to chip away at a panoply of technical, financial and social challenges ---
while seeking funds to keep the effort afloat.
In its grant solicitation, DARPA wrote that it wants to 'foster a rebirth of a sense of wonder' while encouraging research that will pay dividends
here on Earth.
Jemison's first organizational challenge is getting a 100 Year Starship conference off the ground in Houston this September. Within a century, she
wants the project to fund and foster the technologies needed to build a starship.
In beating out 20 competitors for the grant, Jemison tapped a group of scientists and engineers already studying how to travel to the stars. They call
themselves Icarus Interstellar, and one of their advisors, planetary scientist Ralph McNutt of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, called
the 100 Year Starship 'an opportunity to get beyond the realm of science fiction.' He likened our current space vehicles to 'dugout canoes.' But
someday, he said, we'll have the equivalent of ocean liners in space."