I was pleased to attend the recent meeting in Houston, initiating the 100YSS Organization. There were many people in all disciplines present, including many outside of engineering and science. This has a tendency of making the meeting more dynamic, even if less quantitative. A large contingent of Icarii was present, and there was a wonderful exhibit highlighting the Icarus projects, with art displayed- very much enjoyed meeting most of the group for the first time.
The meeting reminded me of the early meeting of the American Society of Civil Engineers Space series beginning in 1998. It drew a broad spectrum of people who were just interested in the exciting work being done to get us back to the moon. Unfortunately, there were a number of false starts- like the one we are in now, with the Moon not a part of the US space enterprise mission.
100YSS are Icarus are bold and visionary activities focusing on a venture that appears fantastic, taking Man and Machine to the nearest star for exploration and habitation. And this to be done within a human lifespan. While the current studies are conceptual rather than programmatic- there is no direct funding and there are no missions in the works- the enthusiasm is no less intense and driven by the belief that we are at the beginning of something big.
These decades will be viewed as the dawn of humanity’s reach for the stars, when the visionaries set their sights and their minds to take humans to their new homes- the Moon, Mars, the outer moons, and the neighboring stars.
While today these missions seem more of the science fiction realm, but as fantastical as they appear, the fact that we think of them and can devise a plan based on current and near-term technologies gives us confidence that soon, in our lifetimes, we will witness the evolution of our ideas into hardware.
Such a multigenerational effort is both inspiring and humbling, something we do both for ourselves and for our subsequent generations. As we benefit from the efforts of our intellectual parents and grandparents, we will pass the baton to our children and their children who will continue these efforts.
Icarus and 100YSS will thusly be continually invigorated to reach for the impossible. For that is how we and our children will witness great starships setting sail to the stars with nothing but the solar winds at their sterns.
It is great to be a part of this great human adventure.