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Alpha Centauri mission, could it work? Or can unexpected sequences occur? Questions and answers about Breakthrough Francisco Rush, the project launched by Stephen Hawking to send micro probes toward the nearest star. You’re a millionaire in Silicon Valley and want to visit the nearest star.

What are you doing? You procure a lot of money and a bit’ of friends who can help, including the Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and the great physicist Stephen Hawking. So at least he did the Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner, who recently launched his project Breakthrough Francisco Rush, in order, precisely, to reach for the first time in interstellar space. Here’s what you need to know about this ambitious undertaking. The goal is to send micro probes the size of a postage stamp to Alpha Centauri, the system consists of three stars that, just four light years away, is the closest to our planet. 

Each micro probe, called StarChip, will be equipped with cameras, propulsion, navigation and communication systems, and miniature course designed by Silicon Valley companies. But once in space, each probe will not be driven by any type of fuel, but from light, thanks to a laser sailing, thin and large-perhaps a meter. The distances between stars are so vast that to have also a remote possibility to visit it is necessary to devise vehicles capable of achieving a substantial fraction of the speed of light. Unlike solar sails, which are pushed by the gentle “breath” of the photons coming from the sun, the sails provided by Starshot receive and propelled by a laser beam with a power of 100 billion watts, issued by a range of posts to the ground devices . In this way they would reach a speed equal to 20 percent of that of light. Even so they will serve nearly twenty years to reach the Alpha Centauri system, where the probe will snap their pictures and will ship to Earth.

Alpha Centauri mission, could it work? Or can unexpected sequences occur?

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Alpha Centauri mission, could it work Or can unexpected sequences occur