Speaking at a conference in San Francisco on Saturday, NASA Ames Center director Simon "Pete" Worden said his division of the space agency had started a project with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) called the "Hundred Year Starship” -- a collaboration for a Star Trek-esque exploration spaceship.
"Within a few years we will see the first true prototype of a spaceship that will take us between worlds,” retired Air Force General Worden said, adding that he hoped to "inveigle some billionaires" such as Google founder Larry Page to help with further funding for the project.
“(Google cofounder) Larry Page asked me a couple weeks ago how much it would cost to send people one way to Mars and I told him $10 billion, and his response was, ‘Can you get it down to 1 or 2 billion?’ So now we’re starting to get a little argument over the price,” Worden said.
First stop, Worden said, was the moons of Mars, from where the planet itself can be explored using telerobotics. “I think we’ll be on the moons of Mars by 2030 or so," he said.
NOTE: "What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve," once said famed motivational writer Napoleon Hill.