Want To Visit A Distant Star? Hitch A Ride On A Space Laser
Stephen Hawking and billionaire Yuri Milner are teaming up to test a way to send space probes 25 trillion miles — all the way to Alpha Centauri.By Mikah Sargent | April 12, 2016
What do you get when you cross lasers, tiny space probes and billions of dollars? Hopefully a ton of information about Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to our own.
Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking have announced a new project called Breakthrough Starshot. They want to send light-propelled spacecraft flying through space at 100 million miles per hour, reaching Alpha Centauri in around 20 years.
Astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell says it'd take a whole lot longer with current technology: "The Voyagers that are heading out toward the stars — they're going to take 20,000 years to get there. That's not acceptable. ... We're talking about putting something 1,000 times faster than any human artifact has ever gone."