London: Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to go into space in 1992, has been chosen to head the 100-year Starship project.
Jemison`s project will explore what it would take for a multi-generational mission beyond the solar system.
Jemison, 55, played a key role in setting up the 100-year Starship symposium organised last year by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Pentagon`s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency in Florida, US.
That led to the award of a $500,000 contract by the agency to study what is needed for long-term projects such as interstellar space missions, reports the Daily Mail.
With the money in the bank, Jemison`s group, the Houston-based Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, now has to take on the challenge of building a programme that can last 100 years which hopefully will result in a Starship.
The foundation has teamed with Icarus Interstellar and the Foundation for Enterprise Development. Adam Crowl, director of Icarus Interstellar, said: "Project Icarus will be producing designs and doing basic research with the common goal of building the technical foundation required for eventual successful interstellar flight."
"Together we`ll be working towards an organisation that will last 100 years and produce a viable interstellar technology, with benefits for all humankind," he added.