The 100 Year Starship

Dr. Mae Jemison was the first black woman in space. Now, she’s leading a wildly ambitious project: to achieve interstellar travel in the next 100 years. She’s with us.

Rendering of Daedalus starship, art by Adrian Mann

Rendering of Daedalus starship, art by Adrian Mann

Think Star Trek and you won’t be far off. A new Pentagon project is putting out seed money for interstellar travel. Humans, rambling around among the stars. It’s called the 100 Year Starship project. It’s as wildly ambitious as just about anything you can imagine.

The spaceship, its energy source, its passengers’ survival – full-blown or just as DNA… all giant challenges. Not to mention that we’re sort of broke and not even flying space shuttles right now. Leader of the new effort: astronaut Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space. She’s with us.

This hour, On Point: the 100 Year Starship.

-Tom Ashbrook


Dr. Mae Jemison, a physician and NASA astronaut, she was the first black woman to travel in space. She was recently selected to head the 100 Year Starship project, an independent, non-governmental, long-term initiative for human interstellar flight.

Paul Gilster, a technology writer and futurist, he blogs at Centauri Dreams.

From Tom’s Reading List “Star Trek’s bold vision of the starship Enterprise manned by a diverse crew may no longer just be science fiction — especially with the first woman astronaut of color heading the real-life project. The U.S. military has chosen Mae Jemison’s nonprofit foundation to receive half a million dollars in seed funding to help turn the 100-Year Starship into reality.”

BBC “Today, Mae Jemison may be best known as the first black female astronaut to travel to space, but someday she could be known for something much more monumental. That’s because she is now at the helm of what could well be the most audacious project ever imagined: a Pentagon-funded effort meant to lead within 100 years to a spaceship that will take humans to the stars.”

Video: NASA Announcement

Pete Worden, Director of NASA’s Ames Center, announces the establishment of a “100 Year Spaceship” program: a DARPA-funded project to develop spacecraft capable of traveling to points far beyond our own solar system.


Check out this NASA photo of Mae Jemison on the space shuttle.



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