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100 Year Starship Study: Call for Papers

We’re keeping a close eye on the 100 Year Starship Study, and with the call for papers for its upcoming conference just issued, I want to run this verbatim.

Addendum: The DARPA teleconference for the 100 Year Starship Study ended about 1215 EST. I’m compiling my notes and should have something up about it either later this afternoon or tomorrow.

DARPA Encourages Individuals and Organizations to Look to the Stars; Issues Call for Papers for 100 Year Starship Study Public Symposium

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.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • David June 15, 2011, 21:07

    We allready have an organization and I visit its webpage everyday.

    What we need is the DARPA/NASA/ESA to use thier resources start building the Icarus fusion engine after our brilliant team tells them how…….

    Using all that SDI research to build a very powerful laser to see how fast we can blast a sail -forget the probe for now Lets just see how fast we can send something……….

    See if we can generate some mini wormholes in CERN…….
    Just thinkin of thing we could do NOW not in 100 years so that in 100 years we will have something

  • Paul Titze June 16, 2011, 4:12

    “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.”

    Does anyone know how much money DARPA and NASA have allocated per year right now for reasearch towards interstellar flight?

    Cheers, Paul Titze.

  • Martin J Sallberg June 16, 2011, 8:42

    As for legal/ethical/economical issues, I think the abundance of real estate and resources in space will end economy and politics as we know it, and create a completely new and much better kind of society. When everyone knows that there is limitless real estate and resources in space, the motifs for exclusive property claiming and other demonstrative societal acts will disappear. That is, if there is suitable spacecrafts for anyone to travel there. Being “left behind” is a non-issue due to the accessability of space travel in this future. The problem of escaping criminals will solve itself due to the economical change, except that any kind of demonstrative behavior will be too dangerous to perform. That seeming problem will in fact be a good preparation for humanitys future ability to get along peacefully with aliens, since it causes respectful non-rigid discussion instead of coercion and extermination. Consider that all big cruelty (ie major genocides) were primarily carried out by people who merely followed orders, which is not so dissimilar from merely following the law. The discussion element is what makes intelligent life special in this context, the ability to non-rigidly discuss is the basis for deeper respect.

  • Larry June 16, 2011, 12:06

    Although I have seen this 100-YSS program associated with images of Star Trek Enterprise on various websites, it usually is followed by discussions of slow propulsion technologies like laser-sails and ion-drives.

    This “Time-Distance Solutions” track is the first mention I’ve seen for the 100-YSS, that implies interest in faster than light technologies. Are they in fact open to considering warp-drive, hyperspace-drive, and anti-gravity technologies… or not?

  • Vincent June 16, 2011, 13:21

    What I’d love to see is an explanation of the hurdles to be conquered – we laymen often hear that we’re one or two centuries away from practical starflight, but not that much about why.

  • Eniac June 17, 2011, 0:22


    I am afraid real estate will never be plentiful. The reason is that an unrestrained humanity will grow exponentially, but real estate can only grow with the third power of time. Exponential growth wins over any power law, thus we will always be trampling on each other’s feet. No matter how fast our ships are.

    We did it to Earth, we will do it to the galaxy, and, if physically possible, even to the entire universe.

  • Rob Henry June 17, 2011, 19:29

    You put the case for the inherent clash of individual humans self-determination of their reproduction and their unrestrained cooperation as a species, and you put it well. What you neglect is that there might be an interlude of a few centuries for us to fix all our problems. This would depend on the exact details of the expansion.