The 100 Year Starship (100YSS) is a joint U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) grant project to a private entity. The goal of the study is not to have the government fund the actual building of spacecraft, but rather to create a business plan that can last 100 years in order to help foster the research needed for interstellar travel.
The 100 Year Starship effort was announced by NASA Ames Research Center director Pete Worden in a talk at San Francisco's Long Conversation conference in October 2010. In a DARPA press release officially announcing the effort, program manager Paul Eremenko, who served as the study coordinator, explained that the endeavor was meant to excite several generations to commit to the research and development of breakthrough technologies to advance the eventual goal of interstellar space travel.
The 100 Year Starship study is the name of a one-year project to assess the attributes of and lay the groundwork for an organization that can carry forward the 100 Year Starship vision. American physician and former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison made the winning bid as leader of her own foundation, the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, partnering with Icarus Interstellar and the Foundation for Enterprise Development. The consortium was awarded a $500,000 grant for further work. The new organization maintained the organizational name 100 Year Starship. Neither Icarus Interstellar nor the Foundation for Enterprise Development are any longer involved in 100 Year Starship although initial grant negotiations took place.
100 Year Starship Symposia
Before the solicitation for the foundation, the 100 Year Starship project was preceded by a conference held in Orlando, Florida, from September 30 to October 2, 2011, co-sponsored by DARPA and NASA, organized by DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office director, David Neyland. The conference included presentations on the technology, biology, physics, philosophy, sociology, and economics of interstellar flight. Selected papers from the conference were published in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society.
After the Jemison Foundation was named as winner of the solicitation, a second symposium was held in 2012 in Houston. Papers on a number of subjects related to interstellar flight and organization of the foundation were presented. 2013 and 2014 Symposia were held in Houston, and a fifth on September 2015.
In 2015, the 100 Year Starship project hosted its first annual Canopus Awards for excellence in interstellar writing. The winners were announced October 30, 2015 at the symposium: