US’s 100-Year Plan to Settle Other Worlds


The Daily Galaxy sheds light on our own Starship Enterprise project going on as we speak.  Sadly none of us will be around to see it’s completion.


Starship Enterprise might have some competition: NASA Ames Director Simon “Pete” Worden has revealed that NASA Ames has “just started a project with DARPA called the Hundred Year Starship,” with $1 million funding from DARPA and $100K from NASA.

“You heard it here,” said Worden at “Long Conversation,” a Long Now Foundation event in San Francisco according to “We also hope to inveigle some billionaires to form a Hundred Year Starship fund,” he added.“The human space program is now really aimed at settling other worlds,” he explained. “Twenty years ago you had to whisper that in dark bars and get fired. NASA needs to build a true starship, probably using electric propulsion, probably also using solar energy and nuclear energy.”One new propulsion concept is electric propulsion, said Worden. “Anybody that watches the [Star Trek] Enterprise, you know you don’t see huge plumes of fire. Within a few years we will see the first true prototype of a spaceship that will take us between worlds.

“We are [also] funding a young scientist to develop microwave thermal propulsion. The idea is if you can beam power to the spaceship, so you don’t have to carry all the fuel; and then you use that energy from a laser or microwave power to heat a propellant; it gets you a pretty big factor of improvement. I think that’s one way of getting off the world.”

Worden also cautioned that in settling on other worlds, we need to be cautious. “How do you live in another world?  I don’t have the slightest idea,” he said. “If you’re a conservative, you worry about it killing us; if you’re a liberal, you worry about us killing it. I think things like synthetic biology have lot of potential for that. I think rather than make an environment on Mars like Earth, why don’t we modify life … including the human genome … so it’s better suited to [Mars]?

Wordon thinks we should go to the moons of Mars first, where we can do extensive telerobotics exploration of the planet. “I think we’ll be on the moons of Mars by 2030 or so.”

Worden also says NASA Ames is exploring another radical new concept: a heavy-lift airship that could carry hundreds of tons. “I think that could revolutionize air transport, because it becomes very cheap and still goes 100 knots. The idea is that you could easily go to Hawaii overnight, for example… with a lot less fuel.

“The long-term answer [to the rapidly accelerating growth of travel in the developing world and the increase in greenhouse gas] is a “Tesla in the air” — using high-density batteries powered off ground-based solar grids, so your airliner stays plugged in overnight, and it’s got an electrical engine rather than a chemical engine. I think within ten years we’ll have small-scale business-level ones, and within 20, they’ll be the airliners. If we don’t, I think aviation’s through.”

Casey Kazan via

About Not Clark Kent

Geek, lover of Baseball, avid comic reader, Bruce Lee fan, follower of Jesus and last but Never least Dad and Husband. View all posts by Not Clark Kent

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