A journey to the stars is a dream now, but may be reality one day


If you're like me, you've probably read a ton of stories that feature interstellar travel. Some of them may have actually included plausible science to explain how the heroes of the story travelled between the stars. If you can convince DARPA that some of those ideas are possible, you just may be able to make yourself half a million dollars.
DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects) and NASA have teamed up to offer a $500,000 grant to an organization that wants to study the feasability of interstellar travel. Sounds like a cushy gig.
It's the culmination of the 100-Year-Starship study which launched last year at a related symposium at about this time of year. The symposium is actually going to return again this year and the organization solicited ideas for presentations over the summer.
Even if NASA and DARPA never get around to figuring out how to get us to the stars, private industry is aiming in that direction. SpaceX, a for-profit space company, is working on replacements for the American shutle program, but the firm's founder says his ultimate goal is to make man an interstellar species. How's that for a company mission statement!
It certainly would be cool to see the day that man journeyed to another star, but I'd be just as happy to live long enough to see someone visit Mars, but have a sinking feeling I'll be six-feet under by the time that happens.
Meanwhile, DARPA is not only dreaming of space rockets, but is building all sorts of technologies that you prove the agency's employees are hardcore science fiction fans.