NASA, DARPA want public input for futuristic space exploration ideas

NASA, DARPA looking to form 100 Year Starship Study

DARPA and NASA Ames Research Center today said they are soliciting abstracts, papers, topics and members for discussion panels, to be part of the 100 Year Starship Study Symposium to be held in Orlando, Fla., from Sept. 30 through Oct. 2.

"This won't just be another space technology conference -- we're hoping that ethicists, lawyers, science fiction writers, technologists and others, will participate in the dialog to make sure we're thinking about all the aspects of interstellar flight," David Neyland, director of the Tactical Technology Office for DARPA, said in a statement. "This is a great opportunity for people with interesting ideas to be heard, which we believe will spur further thought, dreaming and innovation."

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The conference will include discussions on all manner of topics including:

• Time-Distance Solutions [propulsion, time/space manipulation and/or dilation, near speed of light navigation, faster than light navigation, observations and sensing at near speed of light or faster than light]

• Education, Social, Economic and Legal Considerations [education as a mission, who goes, who stays, to profit or not, economies in space, communications back to earth, political ramifications, round-trip legacy investments and assets left behind]

• Philosophical and Religious Considerations [why go to the stars, moral and ethical issues, implications of finding habitable worlds, implications of finding life elsewhere, implications of being left behind]

• Biology and Space Medicine [physiology in space, psychology in space, human life suspension (e.g. cryogenic), medical facilities and capabilities in space, on-scene (end of journey) spawning from genetic material]

• Habitats and Environmental Science [to have gravity or not, space and radiation effects, environmental toxins, energy collection and use, agriculture, self-supporting environments, optimal habitat sizing]

• Destinations [criteria for destination selection, what do you take, how many destinations and missions, probes versus journeys of faith]

• Communication of the Vision [storytelling as a means of inspiration, linkage between incentives, payback and investment, use of movies, television and books to popularize long-term research and long-term journeys]

The agencies said speaking abstracts for papers and proposed panels should be submitted online at http://www.100yss.org/ by 2 p.m. EDT on Thursday, July 8.

In the end the 100 Year Starship Study is expected to culminate in the creation of a self-sustaining organization that will tackle all the issues and challenges inherent in long-duration interstellar space flight.

You may recall that DARPA last month issued a Request For Information intended to solicit ideas and information on structure and approach, and identify parties qualified and interested in furthering the 100 Year Starship project. DARPA says the 100 Year Starship Study is a project to develop a viable and sustainable model for persistent, long-term, private-sector investment into the myriad disciplines needed to make long-distance space travel practicable and feasible.

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: @nwwlayer8

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