Recently, while bemoaning the coming loss of our space shuttle program, I stumbled across an article titled '100-Year Starship' on the Drawing Board at NASA. *perk!* What's this?
Reading the plans for a one-way mission to an Earth-like planet in the future led me an even more delightful discovery -- The Tau Zero Foundation. The TZF is not an advocacy group, but an organization who will try to "convince the government to show more wisdom by consistently investing in humanity's future."
But that's a huge objective, so how will they go about it?
"Using the dream of reaching other worlds as both a long-range goal and a catalyst for near-term progress, the Tau Zero Foundation supports incremental advancements in science, technology, and education. As a private nonprofit (501c3) corporation, supported mainly through philanthropic donations, the Foundation seeks out and directs support to the best practitioners who can make credible progress toward this incredible goal and educate the public during this journey of discovery."
The Tau Zero Foundations activities states their goal of reaching toward the stars "...includes scientists and engineers working the technical challenges, sociologists and anthropologists addressing the implications for humanity, journalists and educators who inform the public on technical progress and its consequences, science fiction writers and producers who use this material to inspire future generations, and entrepreneurs who keep an eye open for revenue generation."
Who is involved? Marc G. Millis, a rocket scientist who founded and led NASA’s Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project from 1996-2002, along with over thirty other professionals including scientists, engineers, educators, fiction authors, journalists, and artists, including Karen Anderson, widow of the late Poul Anderson who wrote the novel Tau Zero, journalist Paul Gilster whose Centauri Dreams site keeps abreast of interstellar developments.
Curious to learn more? (Yeah, I was too!)
Even if the organization's advancement of space exploration doesn't particularly interest you, the site provides a good assortment of material and graphics to get the muse thrusters firing for any SFR writer. Want to explore generation starships? Project Icarus? Undiscovered physics? You can check out Tau Zero Foundation and its initiatives below:
The Tau Zero Foundation Logo and Motto
"ad astra incrementis"
This Latin phrase means:
"to the stars in steps, where each is greater than before."