NASA, Stephen Hawking Build StarChip That Can Travel 1/5 Speed of Light to Alpha Centauri
Since the potentially habitable planet Proxima B was discovered in Alpha Centauri, experts are even more eager to reach the neighborhood star system. NASA is reportedly collaborating with astrophysicist Stephen Hawking whose developing a nanocraft that can travel up to one-fifth of the speed of light.
NASA is hoping that Stephen Hawking's nanocraft will get them to Alpha Centauri. Earlier this year, Hawking and a Russian billionaire, Yuri Milner, announced the Breakthrough Starshot project that aims to build a nanocraft that will head to Alpha Centauri.
Today, even NASA is interested in tagging along with the journey since Alpha Centauri could be the home of the next Earth, the potentially habitable planet Proxima B. This brought the agency's researchers and Hawking together in order to complete the Breakthrough Starshot's nanocraft.
The nanocraft, also called a "nano-starship," can travel to one-fifth of the speed of light, allowing a journey to Alpha Centauri to be completed in only 20 years -- a travel worth 4.367 light years away from Earth.
"StarChip" is what the nanocraft is called. The speed of the craft is not in question, but NASA will help the nanocraft to survive its travel that would take about two decades. "On-chip healing has been around for many, many years," Nasa scientists Jin-Woo Han said in a statement.
In order to do that, the "StarChip" needs to heal, according to a report.This chip will power down after every few years to heal from the drastic effects of radiation in space.
NASA already presented ways to help preserve Stephen Hawking's "StarChip" nanocraft during its journey. With the Hawking and NASA collaboration, experts are more hopeful that the project will be a success.
Earlier this year, the European Space Observatory announced that they may have discovered another habitable planet located in the "Goldilocks Zone" or the habitable region making the exoplanets a conductive body to hold life.