We are not saying our organization, is going to be the one that necessarily launches a mission to the stars in a next 100 years. We want to be the little piece that crystalizes out, the effort, the energy, and the capacity to make sure that the capabilities exist within in the next 100 years in case somebody wants to launch a mission.
Q: So, do you think it’ll a public or private organization that actually launches a starship in the next 100 years?
If we start with an assumption right now that that it has to be public, or it has to be private, we may miss something along the way. Our approach right now is to come with a clean slate and say: what are some of the issues that need to be addressed in order to make that happen? And what are some of the benefits that occur if we go to interstellar space?
Some of the ideas that came out from this blank slate include how would economies change? How do you develop an economy that is not directly connected back with the United States? We have the example of people talking about asteroid mining, and bringing it back to Earth. What’s the benefit of not bringing it back to Earth? What does that economy look like? This is re-envisioning fundamental things.
Q: Part of the role the foundation will be fundraising for space travel. What will be your message to organizations or people you’re trying to raise money from.
Our proposal was titled: “An Inclusive Audacious Journey Transforms Life Here on Earth & Beyond.” That title goes to the very heart of what we’re doing. The first term is inclusive. I think we all know that we would have a lunar base right now, 40 years after Apollo 11, if there had been a public commitment. The fact we don’t have a lunar base has nothing to do with the technology. It has to do with public commitment and societal support.
Why did we have this gung ho spirit for a while, but we were not able to sustain it? I think it’s because many people did not see themselves as beneficiaries of it. That doesn’t mean you get money directly from it. It means, could you participate, could your children participate? Not necessarily being on the vehicle, but how does it impact your world? How does it impact your imagination, your aspiration? We want to look at inclusion, not only in terms of who builds the vehicle, or who does the research, but also the gender, ethnicity, and cultural pieces. We also want to look across disciplines. Something like this requires inclusion of the behavioral sciences, economics, art, and entertainment.
Q: You mention there wasn’t support for a lunar base. How will you ensure there’s support for something as ambitious as a 100-Year Starship?
We’re inviting the public to take part. The public didn’t leave space, they were left out. Nasa and many space organizations tried to do things, such as with teachers and education, but it didn’t feel like it was a public program.
I think that people need an adrenalin rush. Folks need something aspirational, they need to do something that is hard. That’s what ignites the imagination. I grew up during the Apollo-era, in the 1960s. When I was a little girl: I thought when I had an opportunity to go into space, I thought I would at a minimum be working on Mars, or another large planet because we were doing all of these incredible things. But we stagnated, because we didn’t continue that push. We started to get a little bit timid. Timidity does not inspire bold acts.