Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking revealed a plan today to send small robotic spacecraft 4.37 light years away to our closest neighbor solar system, Alpha Centauri, and send back pictures.
The basic idea is to send thousands of probes into space and then propel them forward with powerful laser beams from Earth. The nanocraft could then accelerate to 1/5th the speed of light and reach Alpha Centauri in approximately 20 years.
Of course there are 10’s of billions of dollars to raise for the mission and countless details to be worked out like building robust light sails, circuits that can withstand radiation in space and high gravity, and a suite of high powered lasers that work in perfect unison. However, if successful, we might get actual close-up pictures of a new solar system. Alpha centauri hosts three different stars and at least 1 known planet (and likely many more).
We all may be alive to see the launch, but we’ll have to wait about 20 years + whatever time it takes to beam back the images to see the fruits of the mission. Exciting nonetheless!
These gritty, space-inspired posters are from artist Megan Lee. Each image portrays an iconic “rock star” of science with a symbol that represents their accomplishments.
“My biggest obstacle when making a new print for someones is reading and sifting through the accomplishments they are known for and turning that into something I can represent artistically. And make it look plain cool. I always want my work to be something I’d love to have on my own walls. I have to do a lot of research and studying in order to decide what I’m going to create for a particular person, and I find that the more difficult it is to figure out exactly what I want to design, the more I end up learning.”
I like how she kept them nice and simple. Head to her Etsy store for more.