100 Year Starship

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The 100 Year Starship (100YSS) is a joint U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) grant project to a private entity. The goal of the study is not to have the government fund the actual building of spacecraft, but rather to create a business plan that can last 100 years in order to help foster the research needed for interstellar travel.[1][2][3]


The 100 Year Starship effort was announced by NASA Ames Research Center director Pete Worden in a talk at San Francisco's Long Conversation conference in October 2010.[4] In a DARPA press release officially announcing the effort,[5] program manager Paul Eremenko, who served as the study coordinator, explained that the endeavor was meant to excite several generations to commit to the research and development of breakthrough technologies to advance the eventual goal of interstellar space travel.[6]


The 100 Year Starship study is the name of a one-year project to assess the attributes of and lay the groundwork for an organization that can carry forward the 100 Year Starship vision.[7][8] American physician and former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison made the winning bid as leader[9] of her own foundation, the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, partnering with Icarus Interstellar and the Foundation for Enterprise Development.[10][11] The consortium was awarded a $500,000 grant for further work. The new organization maintained the organizational name 100 Year Starship. Neither Icarus Interstellar nor the Foundation for Enterprise Development are any longer involved in 100 Year Starship although initial grant negotiations took place.[12]

100 Year Starship Symposia[edit]

Before the solicitation for the foundation, the 100 Year Starship project was preceded by a conference held in Orlando, Florida, from September 30 to October 2, 2011, co-sponsored by DARPA and NASA, organized by DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office director, David Neyland.[2][3] The conference included presentations on the technology, biology, physics, philosophy, sociology, and economics of interstellar flight.[7] Selected papers from the conference were published in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society.

After the Jemison Foundation was named as winner of the solicitation, a second symposium was held in 2012 in Houston. Papers on a number of subjects related to interstellar flight and organization of the foundation were presented.[7] 2013 and 2014 Symposia were held in Houston, and a fifth on September 2015.[13]

Canopus Awards[edit]

In 2015, the 100 Year Starship project hosted its first annual Canopus Awards for excellence in interstellar writing.[14] The winners were announced October 30, 2015 at the symposium:[15]


The 100 Year Starship was named by U.S. Senator Tom Coburn as one of the 100 most wasteful government spending projects. Coburn specifically cited a 100 Year Starship workshop that included one session, entitled “Did Jesus die for Klingons too?” that debated the implications for Christian philosophy should life be found on other planets.[16][17] The original meetings were hard science; not so for the ones that followed under Jemison's leadership.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Overbye, Dennis (August 18, 2011). "Offering Funds, U.S. Agency Dreams of Sending Humans to Stars". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b Chang, Kenneth (October 17, 2011). "Not Such a Stretch to Reach for the Stars". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Belfiore, Michael (September 30, 2011). "To Infinity and Beyond at DARPA's 100-Year Starship Symposium". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Brandon, John (October 29, 2010). "Is NASA Covering Up the 100-Year Starship?". FoxNews.com. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "DARPA/NASA Seek to Inspire Multigenerational Research and Development". Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Page, Lewis (November 3, 2010). "DARPA, NASA team on '100-Year Starship' project: plan to invent Heinlein style miracle nonprofit first". The Register. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "100 Year Starship Study™ 2012 Public Symposium" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 27, 2012. 
  8. ^ "The 100-Year Starship Study" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 3, 2011. 
  9. ^ Mark Prigg (6 September 2012). "The 100-year Starship project that plans to transport humans beyond the solar system". Daily Mail. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  10. ^ Weinberger, Sharon (5 January 2012). "Former astronaut to lead starship effort". BBC News. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  11. ^ Gilster, Paul (6 January 2012). "100 Year Starship Winner Announced". Centauri Dreams. Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  12. ^ Andersen, Ross (February 2012). "Project Icarus: Laying the Plans for Interstellar Travel". The Atlantic. Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  13. ^ "100 Year Simposium 2014". 2013. Retrieved 2014-05-25. 
  14. ^ "100 Year Starship Celebrates Halloween Eve Awarding First Interstellar Writing Prize During Science Fiction Stories Night". 100yss.org. 20 October 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  15. ^ "Locus Online News » Canopus Award Winners". www.locusmag.com. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  16. ^ http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2012/nov/15/pentagon-wants-know-did-jesus-die-klingons-too/
  17. ^ https://www.cnbc.com/id/49844670

External links[edit]