NASA and DARPA join for Hundred Year Starship project

Mars

This photo of the surface of Mars shows what astronauts will be living in should the NASA and DARPA project succeed. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A recent joint project between NASA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has been uncovered. The idea is to create a spaceship able to ferry not only personnel but sufficient supplies for a visit to Mars. It’s called the Hundred Year Starship, but the journey would be a bit different from the moon landings. These astronauts wouldn’t be coming back.

DARPA and NASA to colonize Mars

At the Long Conversation conference in San Francisco, Pete Worden of the NASA Ames Research Center announced a new project between NASA and DARPA. The project, according to The Telegraph, is so far called the Hundred Year Starship program, and the two government agencies are looking to enlist help. The world’s billionaires are being solicited for donations, including Larry Page, co-founder of Google. An initial design could be available next year. This project is far more ambitious than the DARPA Challenge, an endurance race for self-driving cars. The goal of this project is to come up with a spacecraft that can ferry a crew of astronauts and a large amount of cargo to Mars. However, unlike Apollo 11 or the International Space Station missions, these astronauts aren’t coming back.

One way ticket

The distances between Earth and other planets doesn’t lend itself easily to a ferry service. A journey to Mars would take nine months to complete. Anyone who lands there will have to be self sufficient. NASA has $1 million to spend, but it is anticipated the project would cost at least $10 billion to pull off. To move one pound of equipment in space, according to Fox News, four pounds of fuel are required to do it. Getting to Mars in the first place is difficult enough, and a return journey that much closer to impossible.

Colonization and the final frontier

Mars is the next great undertaking in space exploration, and colonizing other planets is perhaps next on the list. The mission would be ferrying astronauts to Mars to establish a permanent colony. They would need to adjust to living on the Red Planet. This planet, at some point, will die. Mankind, if it is to survive, must find a way to live somewhere else.

Sources

The Telegraph

Fox News

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