Project Persephone, a new Icarus Interstellar initiative for the DARPA sponsored 100 Year Starship (100YSS) led by TED fellow Dr. Rachel Armstrong, considers the application of living technologies such as protocells and programmable smart chemistries in the context of habitable starship architecture that can respond and evolve according to the needs of its inhabitants.
This project has direct relevance to the challenges of the 21st century where our megacities and urban environments continue to grow at astonishing rates. Yet the building industry, utilities and energy companies lag behind the physical demands of a growing city. When inflexible infrastructures become inadequate or inappropriate then urban decay sets in — crime, homelessness, waste and resource management issues and traffic congestion can have crippling effects. The consideration of living infrastructure technologies on interstellar worldships can therefore have a positive feedback to our current way of life.