There is a good article in today’s New York Times announcing a new program by DARPA to invest in research for human interstellar travel. Talk about forward thinking investment.

The awarding of that grant, on Nov. 11 — 11/11/11 — is planned as 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.

The article has a nice overview of the different technologies suggested so far for interstellar travel, from Solar Sails to Orion ships (although it doesn’t mention Bussard Ramjets).

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