Friday, 15 April 2016

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Stephen Hawking, Mark Zuckerberg, Launch $100M Space Project CalledBreakthrough Starshot

Mark Zuckerberg & Stephen Hawking Team Up To Search For Aliens In History’s Most Ambitious Project

That almost hurtful curiosity mankind has experienced and pondered over for millennia, of exploring the deepest and darkest corners of the universe, seems to be at its peak right now. Recently, some of the brightest minds and most powerful people in the world came together to set the framework of what might be considered the most ambitious space exploration project ever designed in our history. We're not talking about the regular photographing units, we're talking about the search for extraterrestrial life.

This is what we know of the space project so far...

Stephen Hawking and Mark Zuckerberg are two of the well-known figures to be a part of the project which is being called The Starshot Project.  

Including Internet investor Yuri Milner, some of the brightest minds on this planet plan on sending a series of "nano crafts" into far space in a bid to explore and photograph worlds that are most likely to host organic life.

The Starshot project plans to send its tiny rockets to a system 25 trillion miles away.

The collaboration aims at peeking into the deep recesses of space that might contain alien life and its first target is the closest star system to ours - Alpha Centauri. Placed at around 25 trillion miles from our system, getting to the system by regular technology would take nearly 30,000 years. But the Starshot Project plans on covering the distance in all of 20 years.


Scientists have speculated that the Alpha Centauri might contain a few "habitable planets."

Designed to 'gram-scale nano crafts', the tiny little rockets will use light beam propulsion - much like a sail for a ship - to travel at nearly 25% the speed of light on their quest to the nearest solar system to ours. 
"What makes us unique is transcending our limits. Gravity pins us to the ground, but I just flew to America. How do we transcend these limits? With our minds and our machines. 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.”
Stephen Hawking was reported quoting by Independent


Reaching for the stars, although, might not be as hard as we'd imagined.

In fact, because of economies of scale and the decreasing price of computer components, the project might be able to see the light of day with just a few lakh rupees as investment. That clubbed together with the nano scale of the robotics and equipment makes this more of a reality with each passing day.


"The human story is one of great leaps,” Dr Milner told the Independent. “Today we are preparing for the next great leap – to the stars."

Zuckerberg also posted about this on his FB wall and you can read the full report -

Mark Zuckerberg~ 

I'm proud to join Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking for a new space initiative to go beyond our nearby planets to explore other stars for the first time in human history.
Our nearest star, Alpha Centauri, is 4.3 light years or about 25 trillion miles away. Even with today's fastest spacecraft, it would take 30,000 years to get there. That's too long.
The new idea here is that instead of using large spacecraft burning fuel like people have in all traditional space travel, we're going to create a fleet of tiny spacecraft -- or nanocraft -- that we can accelerate to 20% of the speed of light using an array of laser beams from our planet's surface. At that speed of 100 million miles per hour, it will only take 20 years to reach Alpha Centauri. This is a completely new way to think about space travel and exploration.
The reason this project is important is recent research has found many stars have planets within a distance where they could have water to sustain life. That is, they're close enough to their star that any water isn't frozen but not so close that it has all evaporated. But just because a planet is in this habitable zone doesn't mean it has water and is a place we can actually live. For example, Mars has no water, so it would be difficult to ever live there. It's quite possible the closest planet that humans could actually live on is orbiting Alpha Centauri, and the only way to know that for sure is to visit close enough to photograph the planet, which is what this project will do.
Over the years, Yuri and I have worked on a number of science initiatives together, including creating the Breakthrough Prize. I'm excited to support this latest initiative with Stephen Hawking, and to help bring human space exploration to the stars.