A visionary project called Breakthrough Starshot hopes to send a probe to Alpha Centauri, our closest neighbor star. Sound easy enough, right? Well, that star is only 4.37 light years away, which with our fastest rockets ever would take more than 82,000 years to reach. The plan uses tiny probes, the size of a smartphone, propelled with earthbound lasers, projected onto high tech solar sails. The “nanocraft” would pick up speed on their epic voyage, which, in theory, would take them a mere 20 years! The project was announced today by Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking, two of the smartest minds around.

The projected price is $10 Billion, which seems like a lot, until you think about the possibility of reaching entirely new solar systems, and potentially life on other planets.  Via The NYTimes:


Alpha Centauri system, our closest neighbor star.