DARPA Solicits Ideas For Its Hundred-Year Starship Project | Popular Science. This is an interesting article at Popular Science. DARPA and NASA are looking for private ideas, as well as private investment in their 100-Year Starship venture. NASA has put in (a measly) $100k.
100-Year Starshipvia Facebook
We first heard about the concept last year when NASA’s Pete Worden, director of the Ames Research Center, described DARPA’s $100 million investment.
This week’s announcement appears to be the first step down that path, as DARPA is seeking ideas for a business model and research group that would enable a self-sustaining program.
“The respondent must focus on flexible yet robust mechanisms by which an endowment can be created and sustained, wholly devoid of government subsidy or control, and by which worthwhile undertakings—in the sciences, engineering, humanities, or the arts—may be awarded in pursuit of the vision of interstellar flight,” the information request says.
DARPA is specifically looking for proposals that address “long-term survivability over a century-long time horizon,” and clear descriptions of a proposal’s self-governance and self-sustainment.
Based on all this, DARPA said it expects to generate contracts for initial start-up and early operating expenses for the organization “not to exceed several hundred thousand dollars.” Read more about ithere.
This is from the 100 Year Starship Study website.
Responses may be a maximum of five (5) letter-size pages, with minimum 12-point font and 1-inch margins. All responses should include the responding organization’s name, an individual point of contact, physical address, e-mail address, and phone number.
Please submit all responses as a single file in Adobe PDF electronic format to100YSS@darpa.milby 12:00pm (noon) Eastern Time, Friday, June 3, 2011.
The program even has a customary Facebook page. (After all DARPA’s forerunner ARPA founded the internet.) But I am not sure if DARPA or the USA will be around in 100 years’ time considering how the economies of the world are going. I can only imagine what the Soviet cosmonauts who were on the Mir space station while USSR collapsed below them. Imagine the questions going through their minds: Who was in charge? Who will get us provisions? Will we get paid? Will we ever get down to earth?
Fortunately, although Russia was broke, the US of A was around to foot the bill for the space station and the project was expanded to become the Shuttle-Mir program.
DARPA is obviously keeping these in mind as they ask for ideas from the public. Here are a list of their requirements, from the 100 Year Starship Program website.
Several attributes are of interest, specifically:
- Long-term survivability over a century-long time horizon;
- Self-governance, independent of government participation or oversight;
- Self-sustainment, independent of government funding; and
- Relevance to the goal of moving humanity toward the goal of interstellar travel, including related technological, biological, social, economic, and other issues.
People such as George Lucas and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry hired specialists to think of such scenarios and to flesh out the details of such an endeavor. DARPA might want to contact the Star Trek producer crew or even hire the Trekkie fan club for best results.