by Marc Millis

Recently I asked you, our readership, what you want from an interstellar organization, given the emergence of Kelvin Long’s Interstellar Institute and the pending symposium of the 100 Year Starship Organization. How to sort out which organization does what? I suspect that the 100YSS will start inviting memberships (fee-based) at their Sept 13-16 symposium. Unfortunately, we will not be able to launch our new Tau Zero website until after that, in October, at which time we will finally be able to take on members (yes, it has been a long arduous process). Then you can see exactly what we have accomplished beyond our continuing Centauri Dreams news forum. I have no idea if Icarus Interstellar or the others will invite memberships around that time too. All of us have been open for donations for some time.

To put the available support into context, I did a little hunting to estimate the total funds that have been contributed to all of our uniquely interstellar organizations (does not include the British Interplanetary Society, Planetary Society, etc.). To date, and if my hunting is reliable, the combined contributions to all our organizations total less than $100k. This, of course, does not include the $500k from DARPA to Mae Jemison’s 100 Year Starship organization. Thus, short of having a substantial increase in funding, there is not much to go around for one organization, let alone a handfull of them.


I compiled and edited your answers about what you want from an interstellar organization, plus some subsequent discussions for your contemplation and feedback. I did include the answers posted from other organizations, where they listed the services they are offering. I did not include ‘motherhood’ statements which are more about subjective consequences (e.g. “bold & inspiring”) than actionable work.

(1) Promotion and Fund Raising. The distinctions between “promotional” and “enabling,” functions, and “a driver for interstellar flight,” were raised, with the further suggestion that different organizations take on different functions. The suggestion included a recommendation that Tau Zero pursue only the “enabling” functions.

(2) Information: A common theme from the majority of answers, was to have easy access to the most relevant and reliable information. This includes:

— Free (or at least low-cost) journal of interstellar issues and progress (peer-reviewed), the one, go-to, source of emerging information. This includes more than just spacecraft ideas. It should also cover societal implications and the effects of ancillary developments (such as extended human life spans, hibernation, artificial intelligence, and trans-humanism, energy prowess, extinction hazard probabilities, etc.).

— Anthologies that compile the best papers of the past (again covering the full span of relevant topics).

— Detailed books on the key technology options, at a level of detail where the assertions from various studies can be checked against reliable information.

(3) Guiding Scenarios: To provide some context for “how do we get from today to the era of star flight?,” create hypothetical scenarios of the events (technical and societal) that would eventually lead to interstellar missions. There is more than one scenario to create:

— Extrapolating the present rate of progress (technical and societal) till the first mission. Note: Three different studies estimate 2-centuries in this scenario.

— Responding to an impending threat to humanity’s survival.

— Possible technological progress if money and societal support were not limits.

— Implications from the discovery of propulsion physics breakthroughs.

(4) Making Progress: When it comes to making progress (given the information, above, is available), the following statements were made:

— Staged progress where approaches at different levels of technical maturity are treated differently. Where technological progress is nearing implementation, conduct detailed system-level analyses that could lead to implementation plans. For items needing laboratory verification, perform experiments. Items whose feasibility is still uncertain should be treated as basic research, but where it is desired to present some sort of estimate of their viability.

— Want to see “concrete achievements,” not just plans.

— Want “well led projects,” not just visionaries (I’m not sure exactly what is meant here, since I can interpret the statement in more than one way).

— Educational opportunities (many variations on this possible).

— Conducting Mission-Vehicle Studies [The prime activity of Icarus Interstellar]

— Funding individual proposals with clear selection criteria.

(5) Institutes: Both Mae Jemison, of the 100 Year Starship organization, and Kelvin Long each want their own interstellar Institutes. How will they determine who to involve, and how will they get those people to relocate to their central institute? How many people would this involve? How much will it cost? Would its higher costs pull resources away from all the other activities to become the only activity? What services will these institutions offer for the rest of us (those who are not in the institute)?

(6) Symposia and Workshops: Although this was not mentioned in the comments, it has been discussed before. What I would like to hear from our readership is: How frequently do you want them? What do you want to get out of such events? Do you want presentations to be pre-filtered to ensure quality, or do you want full openness? Is it worth having symposia if no potential sponsors are in the audience? How much of a registration fee are you willing to pay?

(7) Inclusivity and Participation: The notion of letting a broad audience participate is a recurring theme. The challenge includes finding worthy tasks for the various skill levels of our audience, and then gleaning the progress made.


The following estimates are based on my experiences at NASA and on lessons learned in the course of creating the Tau Zero Foundation. Your mileage might vary. I’m providing these estimates to give you and idea of the relative difficulty of these tasks, and so you will know how much funding any organization will need before being able to offer such services.

(1) Promotion and Fund Raising. For nonprofit organization, a common advice is to allocate 20% of your total funds to fundraising. In other words, if the organization needs $80k to perform its duties, you need $20k just to raise $100k of funding. I have only started to learn about nonprofit fundraising since 2010, and still have a lot to learn. Prior to that, my NASA affiliation made it illegal for me to raise funds actively for Tau Zero.

(2) Information: With our network of practitioners, this is the primary function that Tau Zero has been doing, so our estimates here are fairly accurate:

Centauri Dreams news forum: This is virtually a full-time job for one person [Paul Gilster], plus it relies on several knowledgeable volunteers to scout for meaningful source material. On this I must share that I am impressed with how much information Paul can process and how frequently he can write. I’m not sure what it would take to provide this service if starting over from scratch.

Social Network Presence: Here are some of the social networks that Tau Zero has been able to keep up, due to the continuing volunteer services of Larry Klaes. This does not require a full-time position, but it is definitely a serious commitment. My thanks to Larry for helping spread our news via these other organizations:

Interstellar Travel (Tau Zero Fan Page)

Icarus Interstellar

Project Hyperion (an Icarus Interstellar project)

Passionate Universe

Space-Time Travel

Paul Gilster also maintains a Twitter presence as @centauri_dreams.

Interstellar Journal (free or at least low-cost) (peer-reviewed): Right now, we’ve been relying mostly on the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society since it already exists and has the staff to perform the required functions. If you have access to a university library which carries this journal, you can visit and read articles without having to pay the annual subscription.

To create a new journal would require at least one full-time editor/manager, a staff of part-time help to process submissions through review, revisions, and properly formatted and copyright manuscripts (and maintain the website), and a network of willing & able reviewers who do not have conflicts of interest about what they are reviewing. A rough dollar estimate to provide such a ‘free’ and quality journal would be about $200k annually.

In my personal experience, the hardest part about doing this (even with ample volunteers) is to find qualified reviewers without conflicts of interest. The interstellar community is still relatively small, and although there are many enthusiasts, most of those are not fully qualified. The number of qualified reviewers is small enough that most already know each others’ works and often have conflicts of interest. A double-blind review might solve the conflict of interest problem, but again, since the community is small, it is pretty easy to guess whose paper you are reviewing. Other qualified reviewers could be drawn in from related fields, but we would probably have to offer a small honoraria to get them to review papers that are not within their fields of interest.

Anthologies that compile the best papers of the past (again covering the full span of relevant topics). As much as I like this idea and would like to see it happen, the challenge again is finding the people who are qualified and impartial that will, indeed, pick the “best” papers, not just their favorite papers. Right now, this is happening only when individuals in our community have enough passion, time, and material to work from. I applaud those who have done, or are attempting such work.

Detailed books on the key technology options: To assemble a book at this level is a 2-3 year endeavor requiring at least ½ time lead editor, plus a team of authors who can write the detailed chapters spanning the topic. Since this function can fall within the scope of a researcher’s day job, there is a possibility of getting such books written with only minor funding.

The difficulty we have found is to find enough willing experts to write impartial and instructive material amidst the more common advocacy papers. Also, I am encountering difficulty when discussing books with publishers since many seem to be waiting for the electronic rights issues to be resolved first… or so that is what I’m hearing.

Library of open technical problems that need to be solved: I like this idea so much that we’ve already been working into on our new Tau Zero website. The challenge here is distilling the key issues from all the literature, and then categorizing them so that it is easy for a newcomer to find what they are looking for. Right now, we have a backlog of notes and references that will still take hours of labor to go through, convert, and post into our list. This is something suitable for volunteers at the skill level of undergraduate students.

Library of reference missions: I like this idea too, and know that Icarus Interstellar is creating these. What I do not know yet – and this gets back to the journal and review challenges -is the level of fidelity and impartiality of those mission/vehicle reports. Historically, before Icarus, there was a tendency in our community to devise mission and vehicle studies to promote a preconceived solution, rather than conducting a requirements-driven, system-level study that is not biased by a favorite power or propulsion option. Such biases are just human nature and are quite common in many fields — Freeman Dyson calls this the ‘Problem of Premature Choice.’ A mitigating strategy to this “premature choice” phenomenon, absent of a team of unbiased, qualified reviewers, is to (1) take all of these studies with a healthy dose of skepticism, and (2) focus on the weakest link of their system to identify what problems still need to be solved (It is common in prior studies to skimp on the assessment of realistic heat rejection and realistic magnetic nozzles). In other words, convert their weakest links into key, next-step tasks… and make progress on those tasks.

(3) Guiding Scenarios: I really like this idea. I will find a way, when we can, to work this into Tau Zero’s activities. This was not already a part of our plans. Off the cuff, I would imagine needing some discussions amongst of our sci-fi authors to kick around possibilities, and then volunteers to distill those discussions into hypothetical scenarios. Each scenario will likely require the same level of effort as a journal paper, but with less rigor, since it is only a prediction. Another option is to run a contest to invite scenarios from our readership. The challenge in that case would be to assemble the review team, support staff, and lead. Provided we had a lead, I consider this a feasible low-cost, mostly volunteer effort. Again, considering that these scenarios will be attempts to predict the future, they should be taken as possibilities, rather than definitive plans.

(4) Making Progress: This is the other area where I’ve aimed Tau Zero to support. Right now, absent of funding to support research, all the progress being made is from our community, where those individuals take on the work themselves to make progress in their area of specialty. At Tau Zero we have been able to forge collaborations to avoid redundancy and to fill niches so that these individual works will have more impact overall. Considering the number of non-redundant and relevant publications that have been forthcoming (technical, science-fiction, journalistic, and artistic), I think our community is doing well. I would like to think that Tau Zero has boosted this, but there is no way to measure it. For example, I have no idea if David Brin’s new novel, Existence, (science-fiction that touches on many issues raised by Tau Zero), was influenced by Tau Zero. Brin is in our network or practitioners, but I’ve not discussed this with him.

When it comes to progress, the other tactic Tau Zero promotes (in addition to the cited collaboration, above), is to focus on the next-step detailed questions instead of advocating a particular solution. This is where Tau Zero differs from others in the community. Several others want to promote their solution and get that solution funded at levels sufficient to launch missions. This includes solar sails, beamed energy sails, nuclear rockets, and nuclear fusion rockets. It is my personal and professional opinion that (1) There is not yet enough prospective funding to support this strategy (requires at least 10’s of millions for any real implementation progress), and (2) It is premature to down select to ‘the’ solution until after we have a more accurate definition of the problem, requirements, and promising technical options.

Regarding educational opportunities, we are collaborating with the Ohio Aerospace Institute to set up graduate student projects, where the student, university, and Tau Zero collaborate to purse a grant for that student to work on a challenge within Tau Zero’s interest. More on this as it develops. To really pull this off would require $500k annually, but we are first seeing what we can do on crumbs.

If there were enough funding to sponsor targeted research, here is how Tau Zero would handle it. In prior estimates, we concluded that a reasonable annual budget to sponsor a research solicitations would be $6M:

— Convene a team of sponsors and practitioners to devise and agree on selection criteria.

— Invite proposals for short-duration tasks (1-3yrs duration) and rank them per the selection criteria just devised.

— To the limit of available funding, select a suite of divergent options from the top-scoring set. By “divergent” I mean that different approaches are supported (diversified portfolio) rather than having all the research cover the same approach.

— Host a symposium to review the findings when that research is done, and refine the next solicitation based on the lessons learned from the prior findings and symposium.

— Repeat that process until enough viable technology has accrued to make interstellar missions possible within the constraints of society’s available support.

(5) Institutes: It has been my experience from watching the creation and fate of other institutes that institutes do more to serve their founders than to serve the community. Regardless, this function still faces the challenges of being able to recruit and successfully manage a fitting team. Rough cost estimates for this sort of approach – absent of the actual research – is about $1-2M annually. Typically, the ‘faculty’ of such institutes are then required to seek additional grants from other sources for the actual topic progress.

Furthermore, it is my professional opinion that the skill set to answer the challenges of interstellar flight are still too fledgling to merge into one institute. Star flight is more than just the vehicle and propulsion. It includes the societal factors, and consideration of a number of specialties that are still emerging, such as synthetic biology, transhumanism, and the pending ‘singularity’ of artificial intelligence. It is because of this widespread and fledgling nature that Tau Zero is pursuing the graduate project idea that is open to all universities.

(6) Symposia and Workshops: This is a necessary function to regularly inform the community of progress, provide opportunities for face-to-face interactions, and invite new participants. Given how long it takes to create new content, It is my professional opinion that symposia should be spread 2 to 3 years apart. The actual costs of hosting a symposium can vary dramatically based on sponsorships, registration fees, and attendance. As a minimum, it requires the full time labor of 2 people for at least a year to assemble a meaningful event.

Due to the difficulty of finding that labor and the over-abundance of symposia and conferences at which interstellar work can be discussed, Tau Zero has no plans to conduct workshops. Instead, we will participate in others’ events as able.

(7) Inclusivity and Participation: The challenge includes finding worthy tasks for the various skill levels of our audience. The discussion forum in Centauri dreams gives our readership the opportunity to participate in discussions. These discussions are moderated to filter out inappropriate comments. The next level of participation is volunteer help. I already have more offers for volunteer help than I can manage. It requires a lot of work to create, assign, and then utilize volunteer tasks. If any of you are willing to manage our Tau Zero pool of volunteers ( ≈ 4-dozen) and are willing to do this as a volunteer for a while, please let me know. This is a job that requires people skills, not engineering or science.


To refresh your memory, my cohorts and I founded Tau Zero to find and forge collaborations amongst genuine pioneers and then share that progress broadly via Centauri Dreams and other publications. Rather than advocating specific vehicles, technologies, or missions, we want to find and encourage progress over the span of options. We also want to make sure we have a realistic set of requirements and constrains (i.e. understanding the problem) before devising ‘the’ solution. Our progress is largely based on the work of our network of practitioners; scientists, engineers, educators, writers, and artists, who work on these topics on their own, but collaborate via Tau Zero to avoid duplication of effort and to find the needed skill mix. In the near future we will debut our new “Discovery Log” – a repository of facts related to interstellar flight, covering these categories:

– Humanity’s Journey

– Destinations

– Getting there.

The services we offer will be articulated in that new website, along with the opportunity to become “members” whose fees grant members access to exclusive information and discounts on Foundation merchandise.

There have been some overtures between some of the organizations to collaborate, to at least avoid redundancy. To help all of these organizations serve you, please add your comments in the discussions. Are these activities what you really want? Which of these do you want first, and most? Which do you think will result in the most progress considering the limited funding? Offer suggestions for where to get the funds and support to your most desired functions.

Ad Astra Incrementis,

Marc Millis


Customer Feedback from the Discussions

Marc Millis August 10, 2012 at 13:43
“Who do ya call?” Dear readers, Are getting confused as to who is doing what and why there is a proliferation of interstellar flight groups?
– British Interplanetary Society
– Tau Zero Foundation w/ Centauri Dreams
– Peregrinus Interstellar
– Icarus Interstellar
– 100 Year Starship Organization, and now..
– Institute for Interstellar Studies.
Rather than advocate our own, I want to take this opportunity to ask YOU, our readership: What do YOU want an interstellar organization to do? And when answering, keep in mind that none of these groups has “serious” money. The bulk of work is till subsidized by volunteered labors of love.

Tell us, all of us, Where are your preferences? What services do you need?

Bob Steinke August 10, 2012 at 15:14
I think one valuable thing that interstellar organizations could do is build up a library of reference mission designs and open technical problems.
Beyond that, if there is any preliminary experimental work that is within their capabilities like the Planetary Society’s work on solar sails.

Interstellar Bill August 10, 2012 at 20:46
We need advanced, graduate-level textbooks on each propulsion option
1. Laser sail
2. Advanced Ion
3. Nuclear Electricity for Space (every non-fusion method from radio isotopes to full scale fission reactors
4. Fusion
We also need anthologies of already-published, specialized interstellar papers. Both IEEE and BIS could alone do great anthologies.
A textbook with one chapter each on these is far too introductory for the dear readers of this blog.

Greg August 10, 2012 at 23:47
“What do YOU want an interstellar organization to do? And when answering, keep in mind that none of these groups has “serious” money. ”
Excellent question Marc, personally I would like to see a staged approach analysis to possible interstellar propulsion solutions. I think if a site could show a stage 1 analysis of possible technologies as well as theoretical physics giving its likelihood between a 1 and 10, 1 being next to impossible 10 being highly likely. It would simply be a group of researchers giving their best guess or analysis of a technology/theory and if it would be feasible or not.
An example is this article on the Giant Casimir effect,
using meta-materials to possibly amplify the Casimir effect. Between 1 and 10 what is the likelihood this is a possibility and if this could be worth pursuing as a means for energy production or propulsion for interstellar travel.
Stage 2 could be a more detailed analysis of technologies. With stage 3 possibly moving to testing in a lab.
It would be nice to cut through the impossible stuff and speaking for myself, see what may get through.

Jean-Pierre Le Rouzic August 11, 2012 at 6:22
To contribute with my own answer to Marc’s question: What I wait from an organization is any concrete achievement, even if small. Like Bob Steinke, I found Planetary society’s solar sail design and launch attempts to have lots of merits. If someone wants to search (as Paul proves daily) there are valuable scientific papers, but for every good paper there are tons of s**t papers, often using arcane physics concepts to propose what is basically perpetual movement machines. There are already many students that are interested by interstellar concepts (f.e. see what F. Loup did). What we need is not visionaries, there are already some very impressive people and it’s good to talk about them, but we now need project leaders with common sense and attention to details and engineers. We need people able to understand that to build interstellar probes, we have to demonstrate concepts validity and how it could be useful by some aspect to humanity in short term.

Marc: What you can do without money is set a call for realistic interstellar proposals with positive impact on today’s life, with a team of volunteers to select a few very interested works with clear selection criterion. You don’t need to propose a price to recruit volunteers and contributors, many organisations only propose fame and it works (IEEE/Arthur B. Guise Medal (fire protection engineers)). Some even do not propose fame (scouts).

Astronist August 11, 2012 at 10:10
Marc Millis wrote: “What do YOU want an interstellar organization to do?”
To my mind, possibly the most urgent task is to develop and publicise a scenario in which we actually get to do interstellar travel, starting from the present day. Why urgent? Imagine that we start discussing interstellar travel with a member of the large majority of people who are not, for whatever reason, excited by the prospect. What will be on their minds? Overpopulation: we must reduce the world’s population. Climate change: we must give up an energy-intensive lifestyle (see Tom Murphy’s “Do the Math” blog for a diet of pessimism on this point, thus directly contradicting any chance of a starfaring future, given the enormous energy demands of interstellar travel). World hunger: we must abandon spaceflight and spend the money on feeding the poor instead. Militarism: we must abandon spaceflight because all it’s doing is spreading evil American militarism and greedy anti-human capitalism into space (the position of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, and of its sociologist supporters who came to talk at the BIS a couple of years ago).

In other words, I detect a general mood of antipathy towards the value system of growth and progress, which would basically shut down space technology and economic growth if it could, and impose a competing value system based on values of being contented with what one already has and renouncing the accumulation of more material possessions, as well as halting progress towards such things as artificial intelligence, genetic engineering and nanotech.

Clearly, the market is on our side: people generally place a higher value on their comfort and on having the latest gadget than on ideology, particularly self-effacing ideology, and the market is great at driving forward economic and technological progress. But I still think we would be well advised to put at the heart of our message to the broader world a reasoned explanation of why growth and progress are still good, why their benefits outweigh their risks, why climate change, peak oil and nanotech are not about to destroy us, and why the interstellar enterprise is not merely a juvenile-minded hobby that we happen to want to indulge in at everyone else’s cost, but the logical result of the growth of civilisation in a way which benefits everybody.
Oxford, UK

Kelvin F. Long August 11, 2012 at 12:54
Marc Millis wrote:
“…Rather than advocate our own, I want to take this opportunity to ask YOU, our readership: What do YOU want an interstellar organization to do? ”

My top five answers:

1. Demonstrate both theoretical and experimental progress towards the long term vision, utilizing rigorous scientific techniques, across the spectrum of options, producing tangible benefits and real technologies.

2. Demonstrate inspired leadership, good mangement and governance in an open, transparent and responsible way.

3. Initiate bold and exciting projects and programs which inspire the world, swell our numbers, and produce more reliable studies.

4. Work together, co-operatively and co-ordinatively, for common purpose, shared ambitions and increased national and international impact, in a way that rises above politics and human behaviours.

5. Break down barriers to participation, knowledge, and belief in the seemingly impossible, by the creation and facilitation of opportunity through education and outreach, using positive-optimistic motivation.

Kelvin F. Long

Jack Crawford August 11, 2012 at 15:51
At this early juncture I think Tau Zero needs to differentiate between being a promoter, an enabler, and a driver of interstellar flight. Of these three things I think acting as an enabler is the easiest to do on a tight budget because it can be done by volunteers as a labor of love while research and public awareness cost money. As an enabler, Tau Zero’s role is to act as a compiler and distributor of knowledge. By acting as a venue for the exchange of information, such as a a free peer reviewed online journal, the Tau Zero Foundation can be a safe haven for scholarly writing, review papers, and general education.

Currently, the literature for interstellar studies is greatly scattered which makes finding and following the literature trail difficult. This impedes research. Review papers can address this and another problem: the academic pay wall to information. Think of the audacity of having to pay $80 for a 10 page paper on the subject you are interested in only to find the paper doesn’t deliver what the abstract says was in the paper. This is our enemy: inaccessible and poor quality information. Help from academia is not coming any time soon so the burden for progressing interstellar studies is on the citizen scientist and engineer, but someone has to give them the tools to succeed. Tau Zero can do this. Important but obscure information can be compiled and rewritten for public consumption. Code for common numerical calculations can be made freely available. Scholarly articles can be held to a higher standard. Proper education articles aimed at the armchair enthusiast can also be written. All you need are volunteers to write and some editors.

~ Jack Crawford

spaceman August 12, 2012 at 3:08
The aforementioned interstellar organizations will- certainly in a more realistic manner than does the film industry- definitely go along way as it pertains to keeping the grand goal of crossing the light years alive. Assuredly, new ideas will originate from these groups and existing ideas will be further refined as technology advances.

As a lover of puzzles, I would like to see the interstellar dream presented as the ultimate puzzle- a puzzle that combines several branches of science both natural and social. So geniuses put down your NYTimes Saturday crossword, which of you has what it takes to crack this one? What could be more challenging and exciting, more important in terms of ensuring human species survival than solving this intricate conundrum of epic proportions?

But it’s like what a friendly fellow at a recent singles party said to me: “When I was your age I used to think that if I waited around it would all fall into place. The right woman would just enter my life…but that’s unlikely. You have to get out there and do the hard work of finding her.”

How true. I can and do imagine her. I think about the pros and cons of getting involved with her, but at the end of the day I know the imagining will only get me so far. He’s right, I have to get out there more and test the waters. Same is the case with interstellar societies…they are a great resource for thinking about, for example, which candidate propulsion systems might work best as well as other aspects of deep spaceflight. Imaginative interstellar groups are crucially important in terms of developing ideas on how it might be possible to effectively span the immense interstellar gulf, but eventually they—like me, will have to get out there and test/implement the ideas in the real world.

Ric August 13, 2012 at 4:10
Seems to me that the Interstellar Institute already exists: Zero Tau. So why not slightly expand the scope of the Zero Tau website and merge the Intersteller Institute topics into it?

Adam Crowl August 13, 2012 at 7:29
An interstellar organisation with the aim of achieving interstellar flight needs to look at the many propulsion suggestions made over time and the broader pre-conditions needed to make the various scenarios happen. For example, what kind of society can make a large multi-stage fusion-propelled probe happen? What economic pathway will make that feasible? And how will it transform life for the rest of humanity?

Or what would lead to huge multi-terawatt lasers able to push sail-craft to half the speed of light? Would powering such devices lead to abundant solar-power systems for human-kind?

Being able to live in space for decades at a time would have implications for recycling and food-processing in a multitude of ways, surely a vital concern on a crowded Earth. By promoting development of minaturised industry, food-production, medical facilities and scientific equipment – all applicable to humans thriving in other star-systems – then we’d be sparking unimaginable leaps forward for everyday life on Earth.

Kick-starting the economic infrastructure needed to develop the solar-system will be another area for the interstellar organisation. For example, Philip Metzger (and his NASA colleagues) have some interesting proposals for boot-strapping space-industry via the Moon’s resources.
Well worth exploring further the whole idea of teleoperated, semi-self-replicating remote facilities on the Moon.

What we need to do is get away from the vision of the one-shot effort. Interstellar involves everyone and could well transform the world.