At this year's South by Southwest (SXSW) conference, former astronaut and founder of the 100 Year Starship programme, Mae Jemison, explained how research into space travel can extended to advancements back home on Earth.
The 100 Year Starship programme is a Darpa-funded project that looks to make interstellar travel a reality within the next 100 years. Jemison says that the programme's goals will have real-world payoffs.
According to her, pushing for interstellar travel will require the people to rethink how we do things today and challenge society to advance its current ways of thinking.
The project aims to create a "Grand Challenge" that will attempt to achieve a very difficult task that will lead to smaller advancements along the way.
Jemison uses the example of teaching the world to read as an example of a Grand Challenge. According to her, teaching the world to read was a very difficult task that has transformed the way the world works.
From things like memory foam mattresses and smoke detectors, technology built for space has already changed our lives here on earth. Jemison's project looks to add similar technologies to the landscape of earth.
In theory, someone could think about the best way to grow food in space and then we can use the technology that they create to have more sustainable farming on earth.
Jemison's project could also lead to a renewed interest in space exploration. Over the past 30 years, the push towards advancing interstellar space travel has fallen off the map. As the world begins to focus on solving the issues here on Earth, the idea of travailing space has seemed less vital.
However, if the world can be convinced that space travel will lead to advancements for Earth's woes than space travel could make a comeback.
The 100 Year Starship programme is currently just a year old. Those interested in getting involved in the project should go to the group's website to share thoughts on the group's mission.
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