Quora Question: What is Project Starshot?

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A still image taken from a video rendering shows phased arrays of lasers which could be used on Breakthrough Starshot, a $100 million research and engineering program aiming to demonstrate proof of concept for light-propelled spacecrafts. Reuters

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Answer from Tarun Kumar, layman, explorer:

Basically, the Breakthrough Organization announced that it is planning to send a fleet of robots to Alpha Centauri, which is 4.37 light-years away. This is the Project STARSHOT.

The project was announced by Yuri Milner (who, by the way, was named after the first person in space), and Mark Zuckerberg and Stephen Hawking will be part of the board of directors. The $100 million initiative aims to develop space probes the size of a postage stamp and shoot them into space with a very high-powered laser sending them hurling toward to Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to our own at a distance of 4.37 light years. These probes will go at nearly one-fifth of the speed of light.

As per the present plan, a mother rocket would leave thousands of probes in space; thousands because many of them can get destroyed en route. It would still take 20 years for the probes to reach the star.

Much of this plan is probably half a lifetime away. Milner and his colleagues estimate that it could take 20 years to get the mission off the ground and into the heavens, 20 years to get to Alpha Centauri and another four years for the word from outer space to come home. And there is still the matter of attracting billions of dollars to pay for it.

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Quora Question: What is Project Starshot? | Tech & Science