APR 13, 2016 10:41 AM PDT

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

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
OCT 24, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 24, 2018
The Importance of Removing Space Junk From Low-Earth Orbit
Space junk is a growing concern among space agencies all around the globe. Countless pieces of space junk surround the Earth in low-Earth orbit, and when t...
OCT 30, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 30, 2018
NASA Officially Retires the Kepler Space Telescope
For more than nine-and-a-half years, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope helped curious astronomers on their quest to identify distant worlds. These words,...
DEC 11, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 11, 2018
ISS Crew Members Perform Spacewalk to Investigate Mystery Hole
The International Space Station became a favorite topic of discussion four months ago after a two-millimeter diameter hole was discovered in the orbital co...
DEC 19, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 19, 2018
Say Hello to Farout, the Farthest Object Ever Observed in the Solar System
When most people think about the solar system, they envision all the planets and everything in between – typically as far out as Pluto – but it...
JAN 07, 2019
Space & Astronomy
JAN 07, 2019
Chinese Rover Begins Scientific Exploration on Moon's 'Dark Side'
The Moon orbits the Earth just as the Earth orbits the Sun, but the Moon’s orbit is tidally-locked. In essence, this means that the Moon rotates once...
JAN 22, 2019
Space & Astronomy
JAN 22, 2019
NASA Wants Astronauts to Visit the Moon Again, And Here's How
It’s been a while since NASA sent astronauts to the Moon – more than four decades, in fact. But that doesn’t mean NASA doesn’t want...
Loading Comments...