Stephen Hawking Plans to Launch Star Probe

Renowned theoretical physicist and Russian entrepreneur and scientist Yuri Milner are teaming up to promote a really exciting project: an interstellar probe to our nearest neighbor, the Alpha Centauri star system.

The pair are proposing to accelerate a tiny high powered electronic probe, about the size of a smart phone, to 20% the speed of light using an ultra high powered laser. The probe would take about 20 years to reach the neighboring star system, which is about 4.3 light-years away.

This is a proof of concept project, which could lay the groundwork for future, more elaborate star probes, going forward. It’s exciting to realize that the rudiments of star travel are¬†within our technical grasp.