Former President Bill Clinton adds his support to the 100-Year Starship initiative, a project started by DARPA the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, to research interstellar travel. The massive craft, from Project Daedalus, needed to escape our solar system next to St Pauls cathedral. Image credit: Adrian Mann/British Interplanetary Society
“This important effort helps advance the knowledge and technologies required to explore space, all while generating the necessary tools that enhance our quality of life on Earth,” Clinton said.
The 100 Year Starship (100YSS) is a joint U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – National Aeronautics and Space Administration grant project to a private entity in order to work toward achieving interstellar travel. The aim of the project, announced in January 2012, is to work toward achieving interstellar travel within the next 100 years.
Project Daedalus, the first serious attempt to design a ship capable of travelling to the nearest stars. Weighing 50,000 tonnes, powered by nuclear fusion, travelling at 12% of the speed of light, the journey time would be close to 50 years. Image credit: Adrian Mann/British Interplanetary Society
Project Daedalus was a study conducted between 1973 and 1978 by the British Interplanetary Society to design a plausible unmanned interstellar spacecraft. Intended mainly as a scientific probe, the design criteria specified that the spacecraft had to use current or near-future technology and had to be able to reach its destination within a human lifetime. Alan Bond led a team of scientists and engineers who proposed using a fusion rocket to reach Barnard’s Star, only 5.9 light years away. The trip was estimated to take 50 years, but the design was required to be flexible enough that it could be sent to any of a number of other target stars.
Daedalus ship. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons