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The adventurous side of human nature drives us to explore—to venture into the unknown to make it known! As humans aim to travel farther and faster, innovation is our natural companion. Who knows what kind of new technologies will come out of Breakthrough Starshot—a bold, new initiative—to reach the stars?

Twenty-five trillion miles may be closer than we think if these bold leaders have their way—Yuri Milner, founder of DST Global; Stephen Hawking, renowned theoretical physicist; and Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. Each of them is a legend in their own right are combining forces and resources to back proof-of-concept research in interstellar travel. With a board like this, what sounds like science fiction should soon become science fact. Add a management and advisory team comprised of a Who’s Who in theoretical physics, astronomy, science and engineering. Thus, not even the sky’s the limit!

Breakthrough Starshot is a bold idea to use nanocraft (about the size of a postage stamp) aptly named StarChips to explore space. A StarChip is a tiny sailing vessel that will be driven by a powerful laser beam directed at the sail. And it is expected to accelerate to 20 percent of light speed. Notably, the nanocraft will head for Alpha Centauri, which is 4.7 light years (25 trillion miles) away.

Why Alpha Centauri?

Alpha Centauri is the nearest star system to our own solar system. Current estimates say that it would take 30,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri in one of our regular spaceships. If the laser sail works as expected, the new project aims to send the spacecraft to reach Alpha Centauri in just 20 years!

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