US federal government offers $500,000 prize to firms who devise a way to send people to a star.

The research agency at the Pentagon that helped foster the internet now wants someone to dream up a way to send people to a star. The winner will get half a million dollars for the idea.

This month, 150 competitors answered the federal government’s initial call for private sector cosmic ideas. Officials say some big names are among those interested.

The plan is for interstellar travel in about a century.

The government’s trademarked 100-year Starship Study concept comes from Darpa, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. It’s spending a total of $1m on the project. The agency will decide who gets the money after presentations are made at a conference in Orlando, Florida, later this year. The Guardian

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