APR 13, 2016 10:41 AM PDT

Stephen Hawking Wants to Send a Spacecraft to Alpha Centauri With Lasers

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Physicist Stephen Hawking, along with billionaire Yuri Milner are proposing a new method of space travel that involves sending spacecraft to other star systems using lasers. They’re calling the $100 million research program Breakthrough Starshot.
 

Stephen Hawking wants to accelerate nano spacecrafts to other star systems in the universe.


"Today, we commit to this next great leap into the cosmos," Hawking said in a statement on Tuesday. "Because we are human, and our nature is to fly."
 
So… lasers? How does that work?
 
Small nano-crafts at gram-scale weight would be launched into space and then propelled at about 20% of the speed of light (100 million miles per hour) with powerful laser light beam systems mounted on the ground here on Earth and sails.
 
One of the star systems Hawking suggested for this proposal was Alpha Centauri, which is the closest star system to us apart from our own Sun.
 
It was noted that with this new transpiration configuration, space travel to this star system could take 20 years, rather than tens of thousands of years as it would take with our most powerful propulsion rockets we have in service today.
 
Because the crafts are so small, it would be easy to build many of them, rather than just one. As a result, we would actually be able to send these little spacecraft to multiple systems throughout the universe, expanding our footprint far beyond our Milky Way galaxy to get a better understanding of what’s around us.
 
This proposal, if successful, would be the first time mankind will ever send any kind of spacecraft outside of our own star system and to another. It may even be capable of sending spacraft as far as to different galaxies.
 


Any spacecraft sent out of our galaxy could even study other-worldly planets to help us find the answer to the universal question: are we alone out there?

Source: CNN

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
DEC 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 15, 2019
How NASA's Dragonfly Mission Will Teach Us More About Titan
If you haven’t already heard, NASA is planning to launch a new mission dubbed Project Dragonfly, which will study Saturn’s moon Titan to learn...
DEC 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 15, 2019
Here's Why NASA's Upcoming Dragonfly Mission is So Exciting
NASA’s had an interest in Saturn’s moon Titan for a very long time. Previous space-centric missions including Cassini-Huygens and Voyager 2 mad...
DEC 15, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 15, 2019
8 More to the List: What Does the Growing Number of Repeating Fast Radio Bursts Mean to Astrophysicists
The story of Fast Radio Bursts (FRB) started back in 2007, when Australian astronomer Duncan Lorimer and his student discovered a set of puzzling data reco...
DEC 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 15, 2019
The Universe is So Vast That Even the Speed of Light Seems Insignificant
When astronomers measure the distance between two distant objects in outer space, the term ‘light-year’ gets tossed around somewhat frequently....
DEC 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 15, 2019
Mars 2020 Rover Carries Full Weight on Wheels for First Time
NASA has been working on an advanced successor to the Martian Curiosity rover for quite some time. Dubbed the Mars 2020 rover, the upgraded SUV-sized auton...
DEC 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 15, 2019
Apollo 12 - A Dramatic Journey Led by the Desire to Explore
On November 19th, the Apollo 12 astronauts, Pete Conrad and Alan Bean, became, respectively, the third and the fourth men to ever walk on the Moon’s...
Loading Comments...