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The Defense Advanced Resarch Projects Agency is at it once again, devising outlandish programs to try and generate research activities in the space domain. Today, Darpa issued a request for information for what it calls the "100 Year Starship Study."According to Darpa, the goal is "to develop a viable and sustainable model for persistent, long-term, private-sector investment into the myriad of disciplines needed to make interstellar space travel practicable and feasible."Beneficiaries from such research would be the Pentagon, NASA, and private enterprises.The timing may be a bit odd, with questions hanging over the U.S. human space flight program and the Shuttle program coming to an end, but perhaps that is the reason futuristic thinking, rather than near-term planning is what is going on. Darpa says the goal of the program is "to foster a rebirth of a sense of wonder among students, academia, industry, researchers and the general population to consider "why not" and to encourage them to tackle whole new classes of research and development related to all the issues surrounding long duration, long distance spaceflight."NASA Ames is working with Darpa on the effort. No contracts are immediately set to emerge, but watch this space to see where it goes.
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