Billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and renowned physicist Stephen Hawking could soon be sending tiny spacecraft into another solar system in search of intelligent life.
The spacecraft which will measure the size of a modern smartphone will travel trillions of kilometres over a duration of 30,000 years as part of an audacious $130 million project to our closest stars. The spacecraft will use special “sails” powered by light from the solar system to drive it forward. The legitimacy of this project appears to be solid with billionaire Russian internet investor Yuri Milner backing the mission called Breakthrough Starshot with $130 million from his own bank account.
If successful, the spacecraft could find out if the Alpha Centauri star system, which is 40 trillion kilometres away, possesses a planet just like Earth which sustains life.
The impressive board members of Breakthrough Starshot currently includes Stephen Hawking, Mark Zuckerberg and Yuri Milner.
Hawking said of the project, “I believe what makes us unique is transcending our limits.”
“Earth is a wonderful place, but it might not last forever. Sooner or later, we must look to the stars — Breakthrough Starshot is a very exciting first step on that journey.”
Before the human race goes hunting for E.T, there are some hurdles to overcome which includes ongoing funding which could see the project hit $13 billion before it is fully complete. On the positive side, British scientists have chimed in saying that the spacecraft travelling at one fifth the speed of light could reach the nearest star in 30 years.
said the tiny new craft, travelling at a fifth of the speed of light, could in theory reach a nearby star in just 30 years.