Last February, NASA and DARPA announced a joint-venture soliciting ideas for the next step in human space exploration. The 100-Year Starship study collected entries until July from various experts in the field, resulting in a ton of ideas for a one-way manned mission into space. And now, the best idea has been chosen, and it was written by a true pioneer in space travel: Mae Jemison, former astronaut and the first black woman in space, submitted the winning proposal, entitled “An Inclusive Audacious Journey Transforms Life Here on Earth & Beyond.”
While there is no actual mission involved in this study (sorry, no real starship), the objective of the project was a sort of “thought experiment,” resulting in a program that can be run (by NASA and DARPA) for the next 100 years. And then, maybe, in 100 years, we might just have a one-way manned mission into space!
Jemison’s proposal was ultimately chosen for the $500,000 contract to build up the program. Details aren’t available yet, but Jemison will partner up with her foundation, the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, as well as Icarus Interstellar and the Foundation for Enterprise Development, to help develop the 100-year program plan.
Also a physician and engineer, Jemison first flew on the Endeavour shuttle mission and spent six years with NASA before ending her career as an astronaut in 1993. Since then, she has worked in a variety of fields including education, outreach, and technology. And, since there are so many fun things to know about this woman, she speaks four languages including English — Russian, Japanese, and Swahili — and is the only actual astronaut to appear on Star Trek. A fan of the show since she was a kid, Jemison said she was inspired by Lt. Uhura to consider space travel as a career. (She is now good friends with Nichelle Nichols.) And in 1993, she did a walk-on role as Lt. Palmer on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
And now, Jemison’s stamp could be on 100 years of space travel.
(via PopSci — Thanks, tipster George!)