Soon enough, tiny rockets are gonna be sent into space as a part of a hugely ambitious alien-finding project, called Starshot, initiated by Stephen Hawking. The world-famous physicist, together with internet investors such as Yuri Milner and Mark Zuckerberg plan to send “nano craft” into space to explore its most remote regions, yet unexplored by humans.
“The limit that confronts us now is the great void between us and the stars. But now we can transcend it, with light beams, light sails, and the lightest spacecraft ever built. Today we commit to this next great leap into the cosmos, because we are human and our nature is to fly”, said professor Hawking.
The Startshot Project will get tiny robots out to the Alpha Centauri star system, 25 trillion miles away. The journey there would normally take 30,000 years – but the initiators of this new project hope that using the tiny rockets will allow them to get there in just 20.
Scientists think that the Alpha Centauri system might include, in its “habitable zones”, a planet very much like our Earth. The craft will be able to take pictures of those zones, thus potentially confirming that there is life on other worlds out there.
The gram-scale nano craft will make its way through space using a “sail pushed by a light beam”, according to Yuri Milner, Russian physicist and a main investor in the Starshot Project. Its design will allow them to fly at 25 per cent of light speed. It will be able to send scientific data, as well as images, back to Earth.