100 Year Starship Mission to Mars Announced at Long Now Foundation Event

Posted on Tuesday November 2, 02010

Sustainability Media recently produced an exciting event for The Long Now Foundation called The Long Conversation .  Over 6 hours, 21 of the San Francisco Bay Area's most interesting minds came together to share the stage in a series of fascinating and at times groundbreaking conversations.  Of special note was an announcement that came out of a conversation between Long Now board member Peter Schwartz and NASA Ames Research Center Director Pete Worden.  It has made its way around the internet by now and we are so glad to have helped facilitate this exciting announcement and stimulating Long Now Foundation event.

The Hundred Year Starship Initiative, a project that NASA Ames and DARPA are undertaking to fund a mission to the red planet by 2030 was disclosed and you can listen to more about the project here.  Be sure to check in at longnow.org and ForaTV for more videos of from the Long Conversation and other exciting events.


With a projected price tag in double digit billions of dollars, NASA is only kicking in $100,000 and DARPA's adding $1 million. So the strategy now seems to be to pull in a team of Billionaires to execute on this vision.  The entire project though has completely taken me by surprise though because of the nature of the trip.  They are not embarking on the project as trying to figure out how to bring people back from Mars once they get there as a necessary component of the project.  The Mission is to send people to Mars and empower them the best they can with the means of getting themselves home by mining the resources available there.  This is obviously a high stakes approach which evidently has a list mile long at NASA of volunteering astronauts willing to take on the project and the potential one way mission.

I grew up with the reality that humanity had accomplished the dream of flying to space and landing on the moon.  Each successive trip was then seen by generations like mine as a repeat performance and a chance to perfect the accomplishment.  While I understand the gigantic strides in scientific knowledge that have come from the successive trip to space, I also acknowledge that the daring sense of vision pushed us beyond orbit in the first place is not reflected in these near orbit tasks.  The concept of pushing the limits again to attempt to put a colony of pioneering scientists on a neighboring Planet has always captivated me and I'm thrilled to hear there is a plan in place to try to accomplish this.  I salute the ambition, the scientists and the funders of this great vision.

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