DARPA wants to go to a galaxy far, far away…

Well, maybe not another galaxy, but at least another star.

DARPA’s new frontier: Distant space travel

From the article:

This isn’t about going to a nearby planet, like Mars. And it’s not about using robotic probes, which doesn’t interest the Defense Department, Neyland said.

But even the nearest star beyond our sun is 25 trillion miles away. The fastest rocket man has built would take more than 4,000 years to get there. This isn’t just about thinking new rocket methods, Neyland said. It’s also about coping with extended life in space, raising issues of medicine, agriculture, ethics and self-reliance, he said.

Pretty cool stuff.  I recommend they read The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, starting with Red Mars.  Even though they were just headed to Mars, it had some pretty good stuff about surviving independently for long periods of time.  Excellent read, too.

And yes, I did just recommend reading a science-fiction book series to get some ideas for an actual space mission.  After all, I hear science-fiction is a precursor to science-fact…

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