The Breakthrough StarShot is a proposed interstellar mission to Alpha Centauri by Breakthrough Initiatives funded by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and scientist Stephen Hawking. News has spread that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also joined the team. The aim of the project is to send a nanosat.
“It’s something that is just the size of a large postage stamp but just a bit more thicker which contains a built in camera and other devices that could possibly transmit scientific data back to earth in a beam of light” said Yuri Milner the main funder of the program.
But scientists speculate that the probe will be significantly damaged by the interstellar gas and dust which will hit the surface and creates holes about half a millimeter deep and moreover the energy generated from these collisions will melt away the craft’s outer layers.
But nevertheless the team is confident enough about the project. They don’t see this as a game stopper and have came up with ideas like adding a protective layer and also a mechanism to fold the sails after the initial acceleration phase.
So overall this project gives new hopes to humanity,
“Now we can not only see and gaze at the stars, but we can go there and study them up-close” Yuri Milner said at the announcement of this $100M project (Funds are expected to increase).
You can read more about the mission in the Breakthrough Initiatives official website: https://breakthroughinitiatives.org/Initiative/3