If you think you can figure out a plan for what it would take to send people to other planets, Darpa might be willing to write you a check. The somewhat mysterious and often eccentric Defense Department research group is willing to pay $500,000 to someone who could figure out the organizational, technical, ethical, and sociological factors to get such a thing built. Even figuring out HOW to build such a thing is expected to take up to 100 years so, you know, don't spend that money all at once. But the money will be awarded on November 11th, something about the whole 11/11/11 thing. The New York Times says
it's the culmination of a yearlong Darpa-NASA effort called the 100-Year Starship Study, which started quietly last winter and will include a three-day public symposium in Orlando, Fla., on Sept. 30 on the whys and wherefores of interstellar travel. The agenda ranges far beyond rocket technology to include such topics as legal, social and economic considerations of interstellar migration, philosophical and religious concerns, where to go and -- perhaps most important -- how to inspire the public to support this very expensive vision.
You know, I can think of ONE Starship that's ready to go RIGHT NOW.