"This important effort helps advance the knowledge and technologies required to explore space, all while generating the necessary tools that enhance our quality of life on Earth," said former U.S. president Bill Clinton in a statement featured in an MSNBC article.
President Clinton was talking about the 100 Year Starship initiative and its 2012 Public Symposium that kicks off this week. The Starship organization is charged with pursuing initiatives, galvanizing leadership and support, to assure that human travel beyond our solar system can be a reality within the next century.
The Starship Organization was started by the U.S. Defense Departments Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), established in 1958 to maintain the technological superiority of the U.S. military. DARPA is all in on this project too, issuing a challenge to create a non-governmental organization for persistent, long-term, private-sector investment into the many disciplines needed to make long-distance space travel possible.
At this week's symposium, scientific and cultural leaders will explore the technologies, science, social structures and strategies needed to make capabilities for human travel to another star system a reality within the next century. Along the way, it is hoped that new technologies developed to enable interstellar flight will have land-based applications as well.
Still sound a bit far-fetched? The idea of traveling to the moon might have started with H. G. Wells' futuristic "The First Men in the Moon" published in 1901, 69 years before it happened.
Yes, the roster of guests at the 2012 Public Symposium will include some StarTrek alums but also feature some of today's top names in research, design and academics. The four-day Symposium and Expo is being held September 13-16, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Visit Space.com this week for complete coverage of the 100YSS Public Symposium.