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Starshot: Russian billionaire and Stephen Hawking want to use lasers to send tiny spacecraft to nearby star

Starshot: Russian billionaire and Stephen Hawking want to use lasers to send tiny spacecraft to nearby star

This is not your granddad’s moonshot. Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and physicist Stephen Hawking have announced Breakthrough Starshot, a $100-million initiative to develop spacecraft that would send probes all the way to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system.

These nano-craft would have to travel roughly a thousand times faster than current spacecraft – and would also be much smaller, consisting of a light sail and a chip that could fit in your cellphone. That’s a big job for some tiny tech.

“Collectively we as humans are at a point in which, technologically, there’s at least one feasible path to getting to another star within our...

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