Sending people to another star will be a monumental undertaking, and the challenges will be not just technological, but human. One thorny question, experts say, is whether to involve organized religions in the effort to mount an interstellar journey.

Religious leaders argued the issue Sept. 14 in Houston at the 100 Year Starship Symposium, a meeting to discuss the prospect of sending a space mission to another star within 100 years.

The church has the resources, funding and reach to garner support for an interstellar mission, said Jason Batt, group life director at Capital Christian Center in Sacramento, Calif. Batt said there is "spiritual potential" in space travel and that the church should begin preparing an organization for an off-planet ministry.

When I first read this I thought it sounded like a thoroughly horrid idea. Sending our religious fanatics into the cosmos armed with bibles and catechisms to bludgeon into the Christian faith any little green/grey men/women who might be up there would be a repetition of some of the worst mistakes of humanity's past and could even spark an interstellar war that would make the tiff between the Klingons and the Romulans seem like two eight year olds squabbling in a school playground.

But then I got all selfish and came to the conclusion that it might be a good idea. Especially if we got to vote on which of our religious celebrities we would send into outer space for a very long time.

Any suggestions?