100-Year starship: Mae Jemison reaches for the stars

Weinberger, S.
Publication language
Date published
18 Nov 2014
Comms, media & information, Innovation

Today, Mae Jemison may be best known as the first black female astronaut to travel to space, but someday she could be known for something much more monumental. That’s because she is now at the helm of what could well be the most audacious project ever imagined: a Pentagon-funded effort meant to lead within 100 years to a spaceship that will take humans to the stars.

The 100-Year Starship, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), isn’t about building the Starship Enterprise, at least not yet. Rather, it’s about creating a nonprofit organization that can sustain efforts over the next century to enable interstellar travel. The Dorothy Jemison Foundation, headed by Mae Jemison, was selected earlier this year to lead the 100-Year Starship.

This week the foundation announced its plans for shooting for the stars. First on the agenda is a gathering of scientists and the public in Houston, Texas, to discuss ways to advance interstellar travel.

Jemison spoke exclusively with BBC Future to talk about how she plans to lead humanity on an interstellar journey.