100 Year Starship™ Initiative
The 100 Year Starship™ will make the capability of human travel beyond our solar system to another star a reality over the next 100 years. 100YSS™ will embark on a journey across time and space … If my language is dramatic, it is because this project is monumental. And our team is both invigorated and sobered by the confidence DARPA has in us to make interstellar flight a reality.
Mae Jemison, M.D.
Leader of 100YSS™
“An Inclusive, Audacious Journey Transforms Life Here on Earth and Beyond” proposal won the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) challenge—to create “a viable and sustainable non-governmental organization for persistent, long-term, private-sector investment into the myriad of disciplines needed to make long-distance space travel possible.”
The non-profit Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, teamed with Icarus Interstellar and Foundation for Enterprise Development, received seed funding from DARPA to design, establish and implement this extensive program.
100 Year Starship will pursue national and global initiatives, and galvanize public and private leadership and grassroots support, to assure that human travel beyond our solar system and to another star can be a reality within the next century. 100 Year Starship will unreservedly dedicate itself to identifying and pushing the radical leaps in knowledge and technology needed to achieve interstellar flight while pioneering and transforming breakthrough applications to enhance the quality of life on earth. We will actively include the broadest swath of people in understanding, shaping, and implementing our mission.
The challenge of traveling to another star system has incredible potential to generate transformative knowledge and technologies that will dramatically benefit the nation and the earth in the near term and the years to come. Taking up the task ignites not only our imagination, but the undeniable human need to push ourselves to accomplishments greater than any single individual.
Today, people take very much for granted (but would be loath to surrender) the benefits space exploration has provided right here on earth. Global positioning satellites (GPS), remote sensing for water, minerals, and crop exploration or monitoring; weather satellites, arms treaty verifications, high-temperature, light-weight materials; revolutionary medical procedures and equipment; pagers, beepers, and television to remote areas of the world; geographic information systems (GIS) and algorithms used to handle huge, complex data sets; physiologic monitoring and miniaturization; atmospheric and ecological monitoring; and insight into our planet’s geological history and future – the list goes on and on. And remarkable, too, was the accompanying wave of social creativity, artistic expressions, and educational innovation. All in all, technologies created for, and made possible by, space exploration permeate, and are an integral and essential part, of our world and its dramatically improved human quality of life in every country.
A venture to the stars will require the creation of revolutionary energy generation, storage and control systems, advanced propulsion systems, radical advancements in closed-loop, life-support systems, and new insights into human development, health, behavior and training, as well as advances in robotics, automation, intelligent systems, and manufacturing techniques. Programs to establish a human presence on the moon, Mars, or elsewhere in our solar system will be stepping-stones to the stars.
The concept of humans travelling to other star systems may appear fantastical—but no more so than the fantasy of reaching the moon was in the days of H. G. Wells. “The First Men in the Moon” was published considerably less than 100 years before humans landed on the moon (1901 vs. 1969) and the rapid scientific and technological advances were not nearly as great as it is today. But to be sure, the engineering, information management and scientific accomplishments just attempting what at the time seemed highly improbable, have been incalculable in the progression of human knowledge and quality of life.