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Could we reach Earth 2.0 within 20 years ?

By T.K. Randall
August 25, 2016 · Comment icon  comments

There could be a habitable alien world practically on our doorstep. Image Credit: NASA
The discovery of an Earth-like world around Proxima Centauri has spurred on efforts to send a probe there.
Earlier this month it was revealed that astronomers had identified a potentially habitable planet in orbit around Proxima Centauri, our closest neighboring star at a distance of 4.25 light years away.

The planet, which exists in its star's habitable zone, was identified using a reflecting telescope at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and has been referred to by many as a possible Earth 2.0.

Actually getting there however may not be quite as impossible a proposition as it may seem.
Back in April, billionaire Yuri Milner and physicist Stephen Hawking revealed a new project known as Breakthrough Starshot which aimed to send miniature postage stamp-sized spacecraft to the Alpha Centauri system within two decades at speeds of up to 20% that of the speed of light.

Large numbers of these tiny probes would be accelerated up to speed by lasers on the Earth's surface. Equipped with cameras and other sensors, the spacecraft would be able to record data about a distant planet before transmitting that information back home.

With a primary target in the Alpha Centauri system now identified, the project has received something of a boost with scientists hoping to get things moving as soon as possible.

If everything goes well then it is not outside the realms of possibility that many of us who are alive today will still be around to see the first ever close-up photographs of an alien world.

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