A New Project Aims To Use The Center Of Asteroids And Turn Them Into Massive Starships

Kristine Moore

A new plan concocted by scientists and researchers at Delft University of Technology aims to take the center of hollowed-out asteroids and use these as the setting for what would be massive starships holding different generations of space travelers as they explore other solar systems.

The researchers have recently christened the new venture as the Evolving Asteroid Starship, and called themselves the TU Delft Starship Team, or DSTART, according to Phys.org.

In their search for the perfect vehicle for interstellar travel, the team is looking at taking an asteroid that has been completely hollowed out and using this as a new home for would-be voyagers.

As DSTART's Angelo Vermeulen explained, the inside of an asteroid could very well be the key to holding the kind of life support system capable of sustaining many generations of space travelers.

"We need self-sustaining and evolvable space technology capable of enduring the many decades needed to journey from our Solar System to another. As part of that, we are looking at the kind of regenerative life support system pioneered by the ESA-led MELiSSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative) program."

Imagine entire human lifetimes passing on this single #starship, flying through the vacuum of space. @angelovermeulen thinks he can make it happen.

— Outer Places (@outerplaces) April 27, 2018

According to DSTART, these starships need to be objects that act just like other organisms do, as the Daily Mail report.

"A starship therefore also needs to be capable of evolving. After all, returning to earth to tackle problems, as we saw during the subsequent missions towards the moon, is out of the question. The ship needs to be able to behave like a living organism that uses raw materials available in space, such as asteroids. These can be exploited for fuel and building materials, for example."

Researchers at DSTART will be unveiling their very first computer simulation of the hollowed-out asteroid starship at Rome's AgroSpace-MELiSSA workshop next month.