How huge lasers could zap a probe far beyond our solar system
The Alpha Centauri star system is four light-years from Earth, our nearest galactic neighbor.
A privately funded venture called Breakthrough Starshot, has a plan to send human technology there in the next few decades.
To do that, the first interstellar spaceship will have to be extremely light and extremely fast.
Pete Worden the former head of NASA's aims lab now leads the Starshot project.
Well the real question that we've got is is there life elsewhere?
Are there other Earths.
In Starshot's master plan, which could take flight two decades from now a mothership orbiting Earth will launch a tiny probe called a nanocraft.
The nano craft will carry data gathering electronics on a one way mission to the alpha Centauri systems.
Once outside the mothership the nano craft will inflate a spiritual sale.
Next an earth based laser array will fire a tremendously powerful light beam at the spacecraft.
In minutes the laser will accelerate the nano craft to a fifth the speed of light.
So it can make that 26 million-mile trip in 20 years.
It'll be a dangerous journey.
So the project eventually will launch hundreds of inexpensive ships because many will likely fail on the way.
Once the NanoCraft arrives at one of the Alpha Centauri's three suns it won't slow down.
But it'll gather as much data as possible as it whizzes pass the stars and planets.
With the laser beam of its own, the nanocraft will fire that data back to earth, its job is done.
But other nanocrafts could follow in its footsteps to other nearby stars, like Barnard's star, Tau Ceti and Trappist-1.
It's not going to be easy but it looks possible.
We assembled when we started this
So about 30 of the world's experts and their first reaction was skeptical they said they enumerated probably 25 big challenges, but we started looking at them each one of them was solvable and then The next couple of decades.
This is the century that will leave our solar system and become a galactic [UNKNOWN].
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