A government agency that helped invent the Internet wants to award an organization $500,000 in seed money to begin studying what it would take to send people to the stars.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, wants a study that would take a look at what it would take organizationally, technically, sociologically, and ethically to send people to a star, the New York Times reported.
There will be a planned awarding of a grant on Nov. 11 to end the year-long DARPA-NASA effort called the 100-Year Starship study that began last year, the Times reported.
Last October, DARPA issued a statement noting that the partnership between itself and NASA is to take the first step in the next era of space exploration by embarking on a journey between the stars.
The 100-Year Starship study, according to DARPA, will examine the business model needed to develop and mature a technology portfolio enabling long-distance manned space flight a century from now.
The 100-Year Starship study is about more than building a spacecraft or any one specific technology, Paul Eremenko, DARPA coordinator for the study, has said in the statement. We endeavor to excite several generations to commit to the research and development of breakthrough technologies and cross-cutting innovations across a myriad of disciplines such as physics, mathematics, biology, economics, and psychological, social, political and cultural sciences, as well as the full range of engineering disciplines to advance the goal of long-distance space travel, but also to benefit mankind.
DARPA has said it anticipates that the advancements achieved by such technologies will be of relevance to the Department of Defense (DoD) mission areas such as energy storage, biology/life support, computing, and navigation to name a few.
In an Aug. 6 article, David Neyland, director of DARPA's Tactical Technology Office, told the Los Angeles Times that about three years ago when he came to the agency, he was looking for ways to inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers to become involved with research and development the same way he was inspired when he was a child.
When the LA Times reporter asked what will we see a century from now, Neyland responded saying:
In my wildest dreams, all the technologies necessary for long-duration, long-distance spaceflight. And I'm not sure that's really unreasonable.