Have you heard the one about the one-way manned mission to Mars? Many recent reports suggest that NASA and DARPA have come together in a plan for a “Hundred Year Starship” that would colonize distant worlds—starting with Mars—with each agency providing $100,000 and $1 million in funding, respectively.
The proposal was informally announced by Simon “Pete” Worden, director of NASA’s Ames Research Center, when he spoke at a Long Now Foundation event in San Francisco, California on 16 October. (Video here)
“The human space program is now really aimed at settling other worlds,” Worden is quoted as saying. “We also hope to inveigle some billionaires to form a Hundred Year Starship fund.”
Over the years, various plans of this sort have been made, including one published in the Journal of Cosmology 18 October. So then has the agency made steps toward this most science-fiction of goals?
“This is not a NASA program, there’s no money for it,” says Michael Braukus, a spokesman at NASA headquarters in Washington D.C.
But DARPA acknowledged the plan exists, though a press release from their spokesman, Eric Mazzacone, said it was “a year-long study” that “aims to develop a construct that will incentivize and facilitate private co-investment” for the endeavor.