DARPA Wants You To Became a Voluntary Space Travel Advisor
DARPA is by far my favorite government agency. After all, their official job is "Creating and Preventing Strategic Surprise" (this motto makes sense, because as soon as you create a surprise, you automatically strategically prevent yourself from being surprised by it). Those guys know how to stay ahead of the game and never fail to amuse/shock/inspire people with their crazy ideas.
One such idea, grabbed straight from the agency's official website, is the 100 years Starship Study. DARPA issued a "request for information", which basically means that all the brainy, space travel interested people out there are now welcome to drop DARPA a line and suggest a neat solution for long duration, long distance spaceflight.
DARPA addressed the request to "students, academia, industry, researchers and the general population". I count myself among the "general population", and so I am going to oblige my favorite agency and come up with some hot tips on how to survive a 100 year space flight.
Tip no.1: Surviving a 100 year space flight is going to be damn difficult, so you may want to take your children along with you. If you never make it, at least there'll be someone to tell the story.
Tip no.2: Hibernate. Reduce your own heart rate and slow your metabolism, and you will remain healthy through long periods of inactivity. No kidding. Alaskan black bears do that already and they're just fine. Here's an interesting article from The Telegraph with some jouicy details.
Tip no.3: Keep your mind occupied and just don't think about it! You may want to try giantsudoku.com for example.
The sad fact is that even if DARPA decides to use the brilliant tips I offered above, I am not going to get a dime for it. The government is not going to award a contract of any sort based on the issued RFI, or, for that matter, pay for the information solicited. Nevertheless, I invite you to take the challenge and come up with some ideas. Who knows, they may even turn out to be better than mine!