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- Astronomy & Space Exploration
Interstellar Travel a Reality
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] is a reality.
DARPA will award a $500,000 contract to study the technical, political and social implications for ultra long term projects, such as inter stellar missions.
This is all part of the Pentagon’s “100 Year Starship” Project to explore what it would take to organize a multi generational mission beyond the solar system.
In the first step, it is rumored that DARPA will name Mae Jemison, who became the first black woman in space in 1992, to lead the project.
Mae Jemison a physician, Peace Corp worker and astronaut since 1992, Jemison has since founded several ventures including The Jemison Group, a technology consulting company, also The Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, which deals with educational projects. More recently, Jemison played a major role in facilitating the 100 Year Starship symposium organized by NASA.
One other “claim to fame” she has, is that she was the first real life astronaut to appear in a “Star Trek” episode.
- Space Watch
Congress mandated NASA to identify 90% of Near Earth objects by 2020. Despite being told that a spacecraft had been designed that could complete this task, congress will not approve its funding.
The task ahead for Jemison, if she accepts, is not an easy one.
There will be the task of organizing funding. Not able to rely on Government funding alone, she will have to try and entice billionaires to also invest.
She will have to choose a company to build the craft. Several people have shown interest: The Tau Zero Foundation, Icarus Interstellar and The Foundation for Enterprise Development.
Obviously, later there will be other tasks such as selecting a crew and dealing with the aspects of sex in space.
One of the most daunting tasks though, will be the selection of a destination for the interstellar craft.
There are billions of stars to choose from but obviously distance is a major factor. Because of this the Alpha Centauri system, as our nearest neighbor, has been suggested. This system though is still 4.4 light years from the Sun. To put that in perspective, if Earth was Orlando and Alpha Centauri was in Los Angeles, the size of our solar system would equate to 1 mile. Up to date, no craft from Earth has yet travelled that first mile and so the task is indeed daunting.
- Next: Time Travel?
There is a chance that scientists have proven that it is possible to travel faster than light. What does this mean?
It is good to see that NASA and the Defense Department have come together to create DARPA, it shows that despite the economy they are still looking to the future.
Unfortunately, although none of us will be alive to see the completion of a first multi generation space mission, some of us, may now be around to see the first launch of one.
Since the shut down of the international space station and the scrapping of the space shuttle, many have been wondering the future of America’s space program. We still may not know what is in the near future but I am sure that it will certainly include the testing of propulsion systems for any future inter stellar craft. Will it perhaps be nuclear or did Mae Jemison learn some secret on “Star Trek”?
- Nuclear Weapons in Space
It is being suggested that we use nuclear weapons to divert asteroids. Could there be repercussions from taking nuclear weapons into space?
- Is the Earth Already Changing Orbit?
Recently the Japanese failed to put a spacecraft in orbit around Venus. Was this due to the target[Venus] having moved or was it because Earth has changed its orbit?
- Have We Been Visited by Aliens.
There are many stories of aliens visiting our ancient ancestors. This highlights a couple of them that although they are so well known, are perhaps a little more believable.
- Mining the Asteroids
When scientists study the asteroids, one of the things they look for are minerals. What if the asteroids have already been mined?