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NASA Space Science

DARPA Chooses Leader For 100-Year Starship Project 180

Hugh Pickens writes "With Nasa scaling back its manned space programs, the idea of a manned trip to the stars may sound audacious, but the 100 Year Starship (100YSS) study is an effort seeded by DARPA to develop a viable and sustainable model for persistent, long-term, private-sector investment into the myriad of disciplines needed to make long-distance space travel practicable and feasible. The goal is not to have the government fund the actual building of spacecraft destined for the stars, but rather to create a foundation that can last 100 years in order to help foster the research needed for interstellar travel. Now DARPA has provided $500,000 in seed money to help jumpstart the effort and chosen Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to go into space, to lead 100YSS. Jemison, who is also a physician and engineer, left NASA in 1993 after a six-year stint in which she served as science mission specialist aboard space shuttle Endeavour, becoming the first black woman to fly in space. Since leaving the space agency, she has been involved in education and outreach efforts and technology development. Rounding out her resume, Jemison also served as a medical officer for the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone and Liberia, is a professionally trained dancer, speaks Russian, Swahili and Japanese, and was the first real astronaut to make a cameo in an episode of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation.' Jemison won the contract with her proposal titled 'An Inclusive Audacious Journey Transforms Life Here on Earth & Beyond.'"
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DARPA Chooses Leader For 100-Year Starship Project

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  • For those wondering (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 07, 2012 @12:42PM (#38622192)

    That's the episode where the Enterprise finds Riker's transporter-accident created duplicate that was abandoned on a planet several years earlier. The new Riker, dubbed Thomas, eventually goes on to leave the ship before one day ending up at DS9 where he steals the Defiant to help the Maquis and is captured/imprisoned by Cardassians. Fun fact: TNG writers briefly considered killing Riker Classic in the episode to have Riker II take his place in the show, but at a lower rank.

  • by demachina ( 71715 ) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @12:51PM (#38622286)

    $500,000 isn't exactly a lot of money by U.S. government standards, but for a country that currently can't even get to people in to LEO spending money on interstellar space travel is completely nuts.

    So, how about you get to Mars first, maybe then we can talk.

    There is pretty much zero chance anyone in the private sector is going to sink any money in to interstellar space travel unless there is a juicy cost plus government contract funding it. If you dangle one of those Lockheed and Boeing will be on it in a heart beat, especially if the contract runs for a 100 years before they have to deliver anything.

    This "foundation" will just be used by the DARPA haters in Congress, mostly Republicans and Tea Partiers, as further evidence of how far DARPA and the Obama administration has gone off the rails, and after reading this I can see their point.

    DARPA does some amazing things but they need to exert a little self restraint and focus on things that will payoff in less than a millenium. It will be unfortunate if the good R&D DARPA does gets cuts because they seem to have gone completely nuts on this. The U.S. doesn't do enough R&D as it is.

  • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @02:52PM (#38623440)

    Do we need to bomb Iraq back to the stone age in order to defend Alaska?
    Do we need to bomb Afghanistan back to the stone age in order to defend Alaska?
    Do we need to invade Libya in order to defend Alaska?
    Do we need to have soldiers in over 1000 military bases in countries around the world, most of who don't want us there, to defend Alaska, Hawaii, and the continental US from invasion?

    No. That's what I mean by WASTE. The military, to fulfill its actual, Constitutionally mandated role of protecting the borders of the US against actual enemies, needs less than 10% of the toys they have WASTED taxpayer money on since WW2.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson