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Not Such a Stretch to Reach for the Stars

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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-11 11:53 AM
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Not Such a Stretch to Reach for the Stars

CONCEPT An Icarus Interstellar design for an unmanned probe uses decades of technological advances to build on a 1970s British project called Daedalus.

Published: October 17, 2011

ORLANDO, Fla. A starship without an engine?

It may seem a fantastical notion, but hardly more so than the idea of building a starship of any kind, especially with NASAs future uncertain at best.

Yet here in Orlando, not far from the launching site of the space programs most triumphant achievements, the governments Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, drew hundreds this month to a symposium on the 100-Year Starship Study, which is devoted to ideas for visiting the stars.

Participants an eclectic mix of engineers, scientists, science fiction fans, students and dreamers explored a mix of ideas, including how to organize and finance a century-long project; whether civilization would survive, because an engine to propel a starship could also be used for a weapon to obliterate the planet; and whether people need to go along for the trip. (Alternatively, machines could build humans at the destination, perhaps tweaked to live in non-Earth-like environs.)

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