In yet another long-shot space exploration effort, Yuri Milner is backing the Breakthrough Starshot Project with $100 million to send a “light beam to propel gram-scale ‘nanocraft’” that is aiming to reach Alpha Centauri within 20 years of launch.
Milner, the well-known Internet investor, is being joined by science star Stephen Hawking and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the effort. Both will be on the board with Milner.
The research and engineering programming would send images of possible planets and other scientific data from space. Former NASA Ames Research Center Director Pete Worden is leading the effort.
The Alpha Centauri star system is 25 trillion miles or 4.37 light-years away. That’s obviously very far, which makes sending people there hard. It would take 30,000 years, said Milner in an interview. Thus, tiny rockets!
The solution, he said, was “gram-scale nanocraft, on a sail pushed by a light beam” that can fly more than a thousand times faster.
“It is a Silicon Valley approach to space travel,” said Milner, who said the price of launches could be just a few hundred thousand dollars compared to the astronomical prices of today.
Video from Reuters via Inform.com