Hundred Year Spaceship | SciByte 14

Hundred Year Spaceship | SciByte 14

This week on SciByte we take a quick look at the Hundred Year Starship Study, what it’s really been doing, and it’s possible implications for the future of space travel.

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Show Notes:

To Boldly Go | J@N | 3.24.11
Where do I sign up?
  • Neither DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) nor NASA are actually building a 100 Year Starship.
  • They are planting seeds for an organization.
  • Consequently they are not taking starship crew applications at the present time.
  • Not quite to the Star Fleet Exam yet
But what about “if you build it they will come”?!
  • While not quite as awesome as an actual starship being built, this study is trying to lay out the things we would need to think about to get this kind of project going
  • They have a website: Hundred Year Starship Study
  • The recipient of the grant could be an individual or corporation who has the best proposal for how to execute and nurture the R&D necessary for the 100-Year Starship (100YSS) program.
So who is cutting what size check?
  • DARPA has put up $1million & NASA contributed $100,000
  • $500,000 has been set aside as a grant given to a ‘winner’
  • This money was/is for 1 year of symposiums and studies
Wait a minute just a year ….
  • The program started in Fall of 2010.
  • The Study will end on 11/11/11.
So what’s the 100YSS “To Do List” ?
  • To identify the business model needed to develop and mature a technology portfolio that will enable long-distance manned space flight a century from now.
  • The year-long study aims to develop a construct that will incentivize and facilitate private co-investment to ensure continuity of the lengthy technological time horizon needed to achieve interstellar travel.
Pouring money on a problem always fixes things … right?
  • The answer is two fold … a technology driven space program rather than the mission driven style that got man on the Moon. doesn’t really work in the short term.
  • The 100YSS isn’t quite that simple
  • For goals in which you don’t really know the details or the problems throwing money at thinking about what those might be does seem to be a start.
    • past DARPA technology development that required a small initial investment that lead to big things include : the internet, GPS technology
    • NASA investments into space exploration have provided a variety of spin-off’s
  • Comes down to the idea that a small investment now could lead to a big payoff in the future
A century seems is one epic road trip …
  • Alpha Centauri, of the stars closes to Earth at 4.35 light years away
  • Voyager 1, launched in 1977, is mankind’s fastest currently fastest object traveling at 38,000mph ( 61,155 km / hr ) would take 70,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri
  • A spacecraft propelled by the pressure waves of an atomic bomb dropped every three seconds would still take hundreds of years to make the journey
It’s been a long road …
  • Julves Verne wrote ’ From the Earth to the Moon ’ in 1865
    • End of the American civil war
    • 38 years before the Wright Brothers first flight
  • A hundred years later
    • 100 years later rockets launched to Saturn
    • 104 years, humans were landing on the moon
  • DARPA’s director of tactical technology, David Neyland said What if we asked Einstien “define a worldwide communication system for the common man, would he have come up with the iPhone?”
100YSS … hoping to inspire us 1/10 as much as Scotty
  • The goal is to pursue long-distance space travel while delivering ancillary results along the way that will benefit mankind.
  • DARPA seeks to inspire several generations to commit to the research and development of breakthrough technologies and cross-cutting innovations across myriad disciplines such as physics, mathematics, engineering, biology, economics, and psychological, social, political and cultural sciences.
Symposium … sounds … fun?
  • 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
  • Habitats and Environmental Science
    • To have gravity or not, Space & Radiation effects, Environmental toxins, Energy Collection & Use, Agriculture, Self-supporting environments, Optimal habitat sizing
  • 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
  • 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 – assets left behind
  • Destinations
    • Criteria for destination selection, What do you take, How many destinations and missions, Probes versus journeys of faith
  • Philosophical and Religious Considerations
    • Why go to the stars, moral and ethical issues, implications of finding hospitably worlds; implications of finding life elsewhere, implications of being left behind
  • 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, long term journeys

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