Setting our sights on the stars

Researchers explore the technology needed for star flight

No one alive today is likely to see the dawn of travel among the stars, but two of the government's premiere research agencies are aiming to make that happen in a century.

The 100-Year Starship study, a joint venture of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and NASA, will study the technology needed for star flight and business models that could make it financially feasible.

Sending manned craft to the moon and unmanned probes to the planets in our solar system was a monumental achievement, but star flight would be many orders of magnitude beyond that. The moon is only about 250,000 miles away. The nearest star, Proxima centauri, is 4.2 light-years ... or 24.6 trillion miles.

The project's goal "will require sustained investments of intellectual and financial capital from a variety of sources," DARPA officials wrote in a news release. "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."

Paul Eremenko, DARPA coordinator for the study, said it is the beginning of an effort to ignite interest in the topic that will engender research that will span mutiple generations and many fields of science.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

Featured

  • Pierce County

    CARES dashboard ensures county spending delivers results

    The CARES Act Funding Outcomes Dashboard helps Pierce County, Wash., monitor funding and key performance indicators for public health emergency response, economic stabilization and recovery, community response and resilience, and essential government services.

  • smart city challenge

    AI-based traffic management improves mobility, saves fuel, cuts pollution

    Researchers are developing a dynamic feedback traffic signal control system that reduces corridor-level fuel consumption by 20% while maintaining a safe and efficient transportation environment.

Stay Connected

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.