This 20-Gram Nano-Spacecraft Could Usher In A New Era In Space Exploration

Using a giant set of lasers to catapult thousands of miniature spacecraft 25 trillion miles to the Alpha Centauri star system may sound like the stuff of science fiction. But Internet entrepreneur and science philanthropist Yuri Milner, in collaboration with renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is placing a $100-million bet that he can turn this into science reality within a generation. Milner announced on Tuesday the creation of “Breakthrough Starshot,” a research project meant to prove that it’s possible to propel nanoscale spacecraft at one-fifth the speed of light. (See animation below.) That’s equal to 60 million meters per

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