INTERSTELLAR

Stephen Hawking Backs Travel to Alpha Centauri

Russian billionaire Yuri Milner unveiled Tuesday his plans to spend $100 million on a probe that could travel to the star system Alpha Centauri, with backing from both Mark Zuckerberg and Stephen Hawking. In a press conference at the One World Observatory in New York City, Milner and Hawking revealed Breakthrough Starshot, a program laying the groundwork for unmanned interstellar travel to our nearest neighboring star system, with an estimated travel time of 20 years. The ambitious plans include high-level technologies such as a “Starchip,” photon thrusters, and a “Lightsail” propelling a miniature laboratory after being launched into space using lasers.