Saturday, October 21, 2017
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help   RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

'Star Chip' could reach Earth 2.0 in 20 years

Posted on Wednesday, 21 June, 2017 | Comment icon 20 comments

Can a probe the size of a postage stamp reach Alpha Centauri ? Image Credit: Breakthrough Starshot
Stephen Hawking is hoping to send a space probe to a potentially habitable world around Alpha Centauri.
During a speech at the Starmus Festival in Norway this week, the world-famous physicist described a new type of miniature spacecraft called a Star Chip that could soon make it possible to acquire close-up images of the nearest extrasolar planets within a matter of decades.

Measuring mere centimeters in size and equipped with a solar sail, these tiny probes would be propelled forward by a laser beam fired from the surface of the Earth.

Under the right conditions they might even be able to reach up to one-fifth the speed of light.

"Such a system could reach Mars in less than an hour, reach Pluto in days, pass Voyager in under a week, and reach Alpha Centauri in just over 20 years," said Professor Hawking.

"Once there, the nano craft could image any planets discovered in the system, test for magnetic fields and organic molecules, and send the data back to Earth in another laser beam."

"Importantly, the Star Chips' trajectories may include a fly-by of Proxima b, the Earth-sized planet that is in the habitable zone of Alpha Centauri."

Based on Hawking's calculations, if one of these Star Chip probes was to be launched today, we could be receiving data about the nearest habitable extrasolar planet in just under 25 years.

Source: Independent | Comments (20)

Tags: Star Chip, Alpha Centauri

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by Nzo on 21 June, 2017, 22:32
Let's do it... send a couple hundred thousand over there just to make we get there.
Comment icon #12 Posted by BeastieRunner on 21 June, 2017, 22:57
Star Chip sounds like a Ben and Jerry's flavor.
Comment icon #13 Posted by MisterMan on 22 June, 2017, 0:32
Fast, I mean really fast, shutter speed.
Comment icon #14 Posted by taniwha on 22 June, 2017, 4:47
Just throw a deep space anchor overboard.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Noxasa on 22 June, 2017, 4:53
Telescopes track stars continuously without so much as a wiggle for entire nights so I would imagine the same tech would be used to aim a laser at a solar sail. Probably setup a few stations around the globe so the a laser is always hitting the sail. What would be funny is if the Star Chip, once there, actually flew into the star before being able to take any images of the planet, or even flew past the star on the opposite side of where the planet was. I don't know how they'd target the craft to fly close to the planet after 20 years of travel at 1/5th the speed of light.
Comment icon #16 Posted by TripGun on 22 June, 2017, 14:52
Millennial great great great grandchildren will be rulers of the world when the data comes back.
Comment icon #17 Posted by paperdyer on 23 June, 2017, 13:40
This is the same Stephen Hawking that can't make up his mind on whether we should stop looking for ET or keep exploring the new frontier? This guy flips sides more often than Harvey Dent!
Comment icon #18 Posted by Calibeliever on 23 June, 2017, 14:38
Fun fact, the spacecraft will perceive itself arriving 165 days sooner than we observe (21 years,assumes 1/5 c over 4.37 light years). There's also the pesky problem of return data transmission. We won't get any images back for nearly 5 years after it arrives.
Comment icon #19 Posted by kobolds on 24 June, 2017, 6:49
I think the main problem now is to build machine that can withstand 1/5 speed light . bullet - around 1,700 mph speed of light - 6.706e+8 mph even bullet will melt travel at that speed
Comment icon #20 Posted by Sundew on 26 June, 2017, 13:20

Please Login or Register to post a comment.

  On the forums
Forum posts:
Forum topics:


9.7 million-year-old hominin teeth discovered
The surprising find has the potential to completely rewrite everything we know of early human history.
Flying insect numbers drop by 75% in 27 years
A new study has highlighted a huge reduction in the number of flying insects in Germany's nature reserves.
Car appears out of nowhere in puzzling footage
An intriguing optical illusion has been leaving social media users scratching their heads this week.
Huge 50km-long cave discovered on the Moon
The Japanese space agency JAXA has announced the discovery of a cave hidden beneath the lunar surface.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
Recreating your face from DNA
Posted 10-18-2017 | 0 comments
Is it possible to determine someone's appearance from a sample of their DNA ?
Schlieren imaging in color
Posted 10-16-2017 | 2 comments
A look at Schlieren imaging - a technique that can help to visualize tiny differences in air.
Glowing creatures of the deep
Posted 10-15-2017 | 0 comments
This vintage clip sees Sir David Attenborough descending in to the dark depths of the sea.
Slow motion pellet split
Posted 10-14-2017 | 0 comments
The Slo Mo Guys attempt to split an air gun pellet with a knife to pop two balloons.
Dog with world's longest tongue
Posted 10-12-2017 | 2 comments
Meet Mochi Rickert - a female St Bernard with a tongue measuring 18.58 cm in length.
 View: More videos
Stories & Experiences
Sleep paralysis or real encounter?
10-18-2017 | United Kingdom
Ghost playing with a balloon?
10-18-2017 | Australia
Impossible phone call
10-18-2017 | West Virginia
Seeing cats
10-18-2017 | Santa Rosa
Fourth of July UFO show
10-18-2017 | Hillsboro ND
Guardian angel ?
9-13-2017 | Middle of nowhere Iowa
I'm not normal, but I'm not alone
9-13-2017 | South Africa
When I was very little
9-13-2017 | Sturgis So.Dakota
Weird light orbs and chills
9-13-2017 | Poland
Unexplained light flashes
8-30-2017 | Louisiana

         More stories | Send us your story
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.7 2001-2017
Privacy Policy and Disclaimer   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ