It’s fair to say that we haven’t been all that successful in proving that there’s extra-terrestrial life within our solar system.
Yeah, we have those blurry as fuck photos of UFOs every now and then, but never anything concrete or even generally believable.
So, wasn’t it about time we got our best and brightest on this to sort out this age old question once and for all?
Step forward probably one of the most random alien-finding duos ever – Stephen Hawking and Mark Zuckerberg.
They’re starting the Starshot Project, which essentially involves sending tiny rockets into space to study the far universe, allowing people to photograph the other planets that are most likely to contain life.
Think The X-Files with about 100 times the budget, simply because two of the richest men on earth will help fund the project – Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and Zuckerberg.
Hawking said in a statement:
Earth is a wonderful place, but it might not last forever. Today we commit to this next great leap into the cosmos, because we are human and our nature is to fly. Sooner or later, we must look to the stars. Breakthrough Starshot is a very exciting first step on that journey.
The $100 million project would involve sending nanocraft with cameras on board, as well as navigation and communication equipment that will take four years to transmit data back to earth.
A propulsion system called ‘lightsail’, using a ‘phased array of lasers, would then help sail each little probe out into space.
Here’s a quick animation of how it would work:
The Starshot Project hopes to get the tiny robots out to the Alpha Centauri star system, 25 trillion miles away.
Through the usual means it would take 30,000 years, but this new project hopes that using the tiny rockets will allow them to get there in just 20, with their design allowing them to fly at 25 per cent of light speed.
And because of the falling price of computer components, the team will eventually be able send out these rockets for just a few hundred thousand dollars.
The human story is one of great leaps. Today we are preparing for the next great leap – to the stars. Can we literally reach the stars, and can we do it in our lifetime?
Anything is possible with these guys on it, and hopefully it’ll go on to prove the existence of extra-terrestrial life once and for all.