Exploring our outer space has been a dream of humanity’s ever since we realized that there was an outer space to explore. There are millennia of theories, calculations, and data, all aimed at helping the next generations literally reach for the stars. And now we’re finally living in the area when that is possible.
Sadly, there are still some obstacles we have to overpass in order to do this whole exploration thing properly. Most of these obstacles are technological in nature, as we need more advanced technology to actually progress; and there is one thing that limits our technological development – money.
Pretty much everything related to outer space exploration costs incredible sums of money to accomplish, seeing as the technology needs to work in the most extreme conditions imaginable without any hitches whatsoever. And with the lack of funding space agencies are currently facing, we’re in for the long haul.
Fortunately, though, we also live in an era of innovation and dreamers. And some of these dreamers also happen to be multibillionaires. After Elon Musk made his plans to colonize Mars known to the public, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner invests $100m in Starshot Breakthrough, hoping to get evidence of life on other planets in the next twenty-five to thirty years.
The plan is very complicated, and is not the only outer space project funded by the Russian billionaire named after the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin. Plus, the Breakthrough Starshot is to be joined by other brilliant minds of our century, like Stephen Hawking, former NASA executive directors, Mark Zuckerberg, and even a guy that designed a miniature spacecraft with $75,000 obtained via Kickstarter.
Milner’s plan is to design scores of miniature, unmanned spacecrafts to be propelled by lasers into the Alpha Centauri galaxy in order to hopefully get evidence of alien life. The spacecrafts would be a few inches long, equipped with cameras and huge solar sails, and are to be propelled by lasers on Earth pointed at the sails.
Surprisingly, the calculations show that the feat is quite achievable, with the spacecrafts taking some twenty years to make it there, and taking another four to send back the images from so far away. The plan is to send scores of them in case some fall victim to the universe’s extreme environment.
With the $100 million Milner is putting forward for the project, even some of the most skeptical scientific minds are beginning to feel lucky regarding the project. Who knows, maybe we’ll actually find planets capable of supporting life during our lifetimes. That’s Milner’s plan, anyway.
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