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2111 interstellar odyssey

Published by under News,Transportation categories on June 27, 2011

Starship arriving to a new EarthDARPA and NASA  recently convened a Strategic Planning Workshop, which brought together 29 visionaries discussing the requirements for seeding research that would enable interstellar flight: the 100-Year Starship project.

The 100-Year Starship workshop sought to frame questions related technological, financial, and organizational strategy for a long-term technology organization. Participants considered the connections between economics, politics, social trends, and technological progress, as well as the organizational characteristics that could navigate these domains with the flexibility and robustness required to endure.

Discussion addressed a wide range of issues, including motivations for human visitation of other star systems, the risks involved, the economic and socio-political obstacles, and the type of governance structure needed. Other topics, such as the importance of having short-term achievable goals, identifying a destination for a starship, bringing together a core group of experts/enthusiasts, interest groups and private funding, and the continued importance of science and technical education for the world’s youth were also discussed at length.

The group identified five key factors as high-level motivations for the exploration of distant space:

• Human survival: ideas related to creating a legacy for the human species, backing up the Earth’s biosphere, and enabling long-term survival in the face of catastrophic disasters on Earth.

• Contact with other life: finding answers to whether there is other life in the universe, whether “intelligent” life exists elsewhere in the galaxy, and at a basic level, whether we are alone in the universe.

• Evolution of the human species: exploration as a human imperative, expansion of human understanding and consciousness through space exploration.

• Scientific discovery: breakthroughs in scientific understanding of the natural universe, a pursuit for knowledge.

• Belief and faith: a search for God or the Divine, a need to explore beyond Earth’s atmosphere as a part of natural theology or as found through religious revelation.

These milestones represent a selection of opportunities to build support for and engage broader participation in the long-term goal of visiting other star systems. Milestones Brainstorming & Initial Discussion:

– In less than five years:

o Prove other Earths exist

o Social involvement to create a world view of hope

o Blockbuster movie (grossing more than $500M) that provokes public involvement and imagination

o 100-Year Starship organization: create a credible organization plan, pursue endorsements

o 100-Year Starship organization: 100 high-profile supporters of the 100-Year Starship goals in a public advertisement

– In less than ten years:

o Land humans on Mars

o Communication via quantum entanglement (faster-than-light communication)

o Generation of life from computer code, without cellular systems

o Development of ability to sink carbon (i.e., green or recycling efforts) on Earth faster than we’re creating it (with implications for “terraforming” other rocky planets or moons)

– In less than 20 years:

o Image of another ‘close Earth’

o Telepresent probe on the surface of Europa

o Capability to discover non-Earth-based life

– In less than 25 years

o Bounce a signal off an exoplanet

– In less than 30 years:

o Non-propellant satellite to Oort Cloud

 

Further activities and information can be found on the 100-Year Starship Project .


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