Latest Project Plans To Send A Spacecraft To Alpha Centauri In 20-Years -

Latest Project Plans To Send A Spacecraft To Alpha Centauri In 20-Years

A latest project has been announced that will attempt to launch a small spacecraft to our nearest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri, and go back images and data to Earth within a age group.
The ambitious proposal called Breakthrough Starshot was exposed today by billionaire Yuri Milner, Professor Stephen Hawking, and a host of other scientists and experts. The $100 million study project will seek to show a proposed concept for interstellar travel, using a tiny satellite with a large laser-powered sail, with a plan to launch a mission to Alpha Centauri in the near prospect.
“Today, we commit to this next huge leap into the cosmos,” said Hawking at a press conference today. “Because we are human, and our nature is to fly.”
The proposal involves using a tiny “nanocraft,” called StarChip, which could fit between two fingers, attached to a giant and sail. An array of lasers on Earth will then be used to direct a powerful laser future 100 gigawatts at this sail, accelerating it to 20 percent of the speed of lightin a matter of minutes. 
Usual spacecraft would take more than 30,000 years to traverse the 4.37 light-years (25 trillion miles) to Alpha Centauri, but this nanocraft could complete the same journey in presently 20 years, returning images and data to Earth of planets in the Alpha Centauri system.
Rather than presently sending one of these nanocraft, Milner and co plan to launch hundreds, or even thousands of them. But they admit there are still a number of challenges to overcome, so they are opening the plan to the public to seek advice on how top to move forward. As of yet, there is no launch date planned for the mission.
“The question is, can we arrive at the stars, literally?” Milner said at the press conference. “And can we do it in our lifetimes?”
Aside from Milner and Hawking, the plan boasts some high-profile backers including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Ann Druyan, the widow of the late Carl Sagan, who proposed the plan of a solar sail in 1976. “But we didn’t think of making one so small,” said Druyan. The program will be led by Pete Worden, former manager of NASA’s AMES Research Center.
This is the most recent Breakthrough Prize from Milner and Hawking, with a previous project from the two creatures the groundbreaking $100 million Breakthrough Listen campaign, one of the majority extensive searches for intelligent extraterrestrial life to date.

Breakthrough Starshot also aims to help reply if we are alone in the universe, by studying the planets of Alpha Centauri to look for signs of life.
Latest Project Plans To Send A Spacecraft To Alpha Centauri In 20-Years

It’s certainly an interesting proposal. Truth be told, similar skill has been touted before, but with Milner’s financial support, perhaps this is an interstellar project that can in fact get off the ground, and complete an incredible mission once never thought- possible.

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