In 1865, Jules Verne put forward a seemingly impossible notion in From Earth to the Moon: he wrote about building a giant space gun that would rocket men to the moon. Just over a century later, the impossible became reality when Neil Armstrong took that first step onto the moon's surface in 1969.
A century can fundamentally change our understanding of our universe and reality. Man's desire to explore space and achieve the seemingly impossible is at the center of the 100 Year Starship Study Symposium. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and NASA Ames Research Center (serving as execution agent), are working together to convene thought leaders dealing with the practical and fantastic issues man needs to address to achieve interstellar flight one hundred years from now.
DARPA and NASA Ames Research Center are soliciting abstracts for papers and/or topics/members for discussion panels, to be presented at the 100 Year Starship Study Symposium to be held in Orlando, Florida from September 30 through October 2, 2011.
The symposium is expected to attract roughly hundreds of people from around the world. Speaking abstracts for papers and proposed panels should be submitted online at www.100yss.org by 2:00 pm ET on Thursday, July 8, 2011.
"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," said David Neyland, director of the Tactical Technology Office for DARPA. "This is a great opportunity for people with interesting ideas to be heard, which we believe will spur further thought, dreaming and innovation."
The conference will include a series of tracks. Individuals may submit speaking abstracts directly related to these topics, or they can propose entirely different ideas.
* 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]
DARPA contends that the useful, unanticipated consequences of such research - benefits from improved propulsion to energy storage and life support - can ultimately benefit the Department of Defense and to NASA, as well as the private and commercial sector.
The 100 Year Starship Study aims 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. Additional information about the project may be found by visiting www.100yss.org. The public symposium is intended to seed creative energy to "kick-start" long term research goals.
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For additional information, contact DARPA Public Affairs, DARPAPublicAffairsOffice@darpa.mil
DARPA Request for Information: 100 Year Starship Study