This Is Probably a Job for Chris Borgen, Space Lawyer
DARPA will be making a grant award this fall to some organization to address interstellar space flight:
In what is perhaps the ultimate startup opportunity, Darpa, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, plans to award some lucky, ambitious and star-struck organization roughly $500,000 in seed money to begin studying what it would take — organizationally, technically, sociologically and ethically — to send humans to another star, a challenge of such magnitude that the study alone could take a hundred years.
The awarding of that grant, on Nov. 11 — 11/11/11 — is planned as the culmination of a yearlong Darpa-NASA effort called the 100-Year Starship Study, which started quietly last winter and will include a three-day public symposium in Orlando, Fla., on Sept. 30 on the whys and wherefores of interstellar travel.
The reason I am calling out OJ’s own space law expert for this assignment is that the article goes on to note that the agenda for the conference “ranges far beyond rocket technology to include such topics as legal, social and economic considerations of interstellar migration.”
So. Toward the end of Robert Heinlein’s young people’s classic 1950s sci-fi novel, Have Space Suit, Will Travel (a title imposed by his publisher and which forever embarrassed him), the young hero, Kit, meets with the MIT physicist father of his interstellar sidekick, PeeWee – and the UN Secretary-General, who understandably wants to learn about the aliens that, unbeknownst to anyone, nearly destroyed Earth. Kit expresses a desire to study engineering; the SG tells him he should consider a joint degree in law because, as the SG says, the law and lawyers go anywhere humanity goes. Good to see that DARPA recognizes that.