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Published on June 20th, 2011 | by Tina Casey


DARPA Wants Your Ideas for the Mother of All Star Trek Conventions

June 20th, 2011 by  

DARPA issues call for abstracts for 100 year starship program

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is going all out for its upcoming 100 Year Star Ship Symposium, and they want to hear from anyone with an interest in space travel. The agency has issued an open call for abstracts and discussion topics on everything from energy harvesting to religious and philosophical issues. If you don’t have a tech background, don’t be shy, because according to DARPA “this is a great opportunity for people with interesting ideas to be heard, which we believe will spur further thought, dreaming, and innovation.” Yeah that’s right — it’s like a Star Trek convention, only for real.

The 100 Year Starship Study

DARPA’s 100 Year Starship project first came to Cleantechnica’s attention earlier this year, when the focus was simply on exploring the organizational challenges of an interstellar space travel program. The “100 years” in the project’s title doesn’t refer to the travel, but to the length of time needed to sustain the entire project through planning, research, construction, and mission control: several generations, or at least 100 years. That alone is a pretty daunting challenge.

Calling All Trekkies

DARPA kicked off its request for abstracts with a reference to one of the most influential science fiction writers of all time, Jules Verne, who predicted rocket-type space flight in his 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon only about one century short of the actual event, and foretold the international space race, to boot. That should make it pretty clear that the agency is casting a wide net for ideas, and if you had any doubts, check out the 100 Year Starship call for abstracts, which states that the goal of the program is to “foster a rebirth of a sense of wonder among students, academia, industry, researchers and the general population to consider ‘why not…'”

Why Not?

If you have an idea for DARPA, why not send it in? At this stage the agency is only asking for abstracts of 400 words or less — that’s just about the length of this article. The deadline for abstracts is Thursday, July 8 and the symposium will be held in Florida from September 30 to October 2.

Image: Starship Enterprise by tksummers on flickr.com. 


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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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