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There's a star nearly 5 light-years from Earth. Stephen Hawking is sending a spacecraft to it

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posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 05:06 PM
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It seems we have a group of people with Mr. Hawking, and Mark Zuckerburg that want to send a probe to our nearest neighbor star Alpha Centauri.


Stephen Hawking, Mark Zuckerberg and a group of tech and science giants want to send a tiny probe no bigger than an iPhone traveling at 100 million miles per hour to the Earth's nearest star system beyond the sun. This $100 million "Breakthrough Starshot" project is a "proof of concept" program designed to assess the feasibility of sending a tiny spacecraft out to Alpha Centauri, 4.37 light years away, by surfing on a beam of light sent from a giant laser array.



On the way to Alpha Centauri, the probe would examine other objects in our solar system, project officials said. For example, traveling at great speed, it would take about 3 days for the spacecraft to reach Pluto, a destination that took the New Horizons spacecraft 9 years to reach.


Now this sounds very ambitious, but it won't come without it's problems...


Scientists will effectively need to invent a system that will allow even a tiny spacecraft to fly interstellar distances on a beam of light.



Figuring out how to communicate with a tiny spacecraft across such vast distances is also a huge problem, but the minds behind the project have some idea of how to get data back from the nanocraft at that great of a distance.


Things that can be figured out in time I'm sure. Also money may become a problem after the original 100 million is used.


While the $100 million investment may be a good start, it will take a lot more money and time to actually build and send a spacecraft to Alpha Centauri. The full-scale mission would “require a budget comparable to the largest current scientific experiments,” according to a statement from Breakthrough Starshot. For reference, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope currently has a budget of more than $8 billion.


www.yahoo.com...

Honestly I truly hope this happens as it would be very interesting to see it work and show a star system we have never gotten to see up close.




posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 05:10 PM
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Will the iPhone then call home........
Quantum entanglement may help it do so......
Its a grand project...but should everyone here be well fed first......



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 05:15 PM
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a reply to: tsurfer2000h

A while ago they said we would be like the Jetsons in our current time. Just sayin.


iTruthSeeker



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 05:18 PM
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I'll be keeping an eye on this - will check back in 100 years or so.

Seriously, it will be fascinating to see what technology they can up with to do this - and also if they can scale it to bigger craft.



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 05:27 PM
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a reply to: UKTruth




I'll be keeping an eye on this - will check back in 100 years or so.


From what they are saying they are trying to make one that can get to Alpha Centauri within 20 years of it's launch, so you may not have to wait that long, although the research to get this to happen may take longer as they have a lot of things to understand and figure out before it happens.

And I do hope it does as it would be interesting to see how our neighbor is getting along compared to us.



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 05:29 PM
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It wouldn't even need to communicate back necessarily. We could just send millions of these devices out in every direction. Try to make it indestructible and put information on it saying where we are. Maybe someone out there will find one of them eventually.



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 05:32 PM
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How do we get the data back to earth?
If it does the 4.5 LY journey in 20 years, it would have to travel at around a 1/4 the speed of light on average, not counting acceleration and decelerating. It would have to be autonomous by a great deal, because the further it goes, the longer is the packet/signal runtime and even at light speed communication, it would take 9 years from input to output (signal going two way)



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 05:36 PM
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originally posted by: bandersnatch
Will the iPhone then call home........
Quantum entanglement may help it do so......
Its a grand project...but should everyone here be well fed first......


Well I hope it's not an iphone they send, lets look at that, the battery lasts as long as a fart, the usb charging cable will break and Apple will refuse to crack the encryption to see the data recorded

edit on 12-4-2016 by wmd_2008 because: (no reason given)

edit on 12-4-2016 by wmd_2008 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 05:47 PM
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a reply to: tsurfer2000h

The aliens will swat that thing down like a fly…right back in Zuckerberg's face and then it will ricochet and hit Bill Gates like the magic bullet in the head for his lousy browser...


edit on 12-4-2016 by Willtell because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 05:48 PM
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a reply to: UKTruth

The larger the craft, the more massive the energy requirements would be. I do not see belting the back end of a ship even the size of a F-18 with a laser being remotely feasible as a propulsion method. Something small and lightweight though? Why not?

The main problems I can see with this methodology, if I understand it correctly, will be:

1) maintaining a target lock on such a tiny object, over the masses of distance that will be necessary in order to accelerate the object to the desired speed.

2) cramming enough gear into such a small space, to be able to send back data at all, leave alone throughout the journey and in a timely manner, certainly during the portion of the trip which will see the device hurtle past the edge of our solar system, and through the aching void between our system and the target system.

3) aiming whatever receivers will be used in the correct direction to pick up what will inevitably be a tiny, and increasingly weak signal.

4) trying to get an Uber driver to collect it when the mission completes.

Ok, that last one is silly, but the other three? Serious business. For reference, this would be like an English base station trying to maintain a target lock on a sparrow in Germany, using a millimetre wave radar. Some serious advancements in practically every thing that space science does will have to be made, in order to make this idea operate. There are objects larger, much larger than the intended size of this device they want to send, that our technology cannot even find, let alone receive data from, and these objects to which I refer are part of our solar system! Rocks and ice balls the size of planetoids, that we can only infer from the way their movement perturbs the orbits of known objects.

Given the incredible distance involved, and the minuscule dimensions of the device that is being posited, I cannot wait to see what mind blowing advances must surely come about, if this thing is to go off at all, leave alone go off without a hitch. I have another concern, now I think about it.

What will the effect be, of an object the size of an iPhone 6 impacting a planet at one hundred million miles per hour? I mean, if the thing is durable enough to survive the effects of the mind boggling cold of space for the duration of the journey, without getting beaten all to crap by debris and energetic particles during its passage through our solar system (Oort Cloud, Kuiper belt, all those nasty radiation issues and so on) then it must be built pretty damned sternly. By that I mean, it would have to be one of the most aggressively sound structures sent to space by mankind. I do not know about you, but small or not, I would not want to be in the way of that object if it were to come crashing through our atmosphere, so is this actually a good idea from the perspective of the system to which it is being sent?

I am not suggesting that there may be life there, because I have no idea and no way to know, more importantly, having never been and had a look for myself. But even assuming no life is present or possible in or on any of the planets which might be in that star system, even assuming that it is barren as can be, is it a good idea to shoot an object which could survive the journey, at a star system at one hundred MILLION miles an hour?



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 05:54 PM
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This week, famed physicist Stephen Hawking helped launch a major new effort to search for signs of intelligent alien life in the cosmos, even though he thinks it's likely that such creatures would try to destroy humanity.

Since at least 2010, Hawking has spoken publicly about his fears that an advanced alien civilization would have no problem wiping out the human race the way a human might wipe out a colony of ants.

Link


Looks like he changed his mind or figures he'll be gone by the time they arrive.
edit on 4/12/2016 by roadgravel because: add link



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 05:57 PM
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a reply to: bandersnatch

The main hurdles to keeping everyone "well fed" now are geopolitical, and probably can't be resolved short of a one world (and some would argue "totalitarian" government.

So no, waiting to do interesting scientific research related to interstellar travel should NOT wait until we are all well fed, as it is far more likely we will invent time travel before we solve the geopolitical problems related to getting everyone well-fed in the short term.

Hell -- on this board alone, we have a guy who today is arguing that he should be able to opt out of taxes if he is willing to receive reduced or no public services. These "problems" are likely intransigent. Waiting for the mythical utopian day when they are solved before doing science is cutting off our noses to spite our face.



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 06:00 PM
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a reply to: tsurfer2000h

I'm still confused on how they're going to get it to decelerate in order for it to reach its target. As far as I know you need an equal amount of energy expended in the opposite in direction in order to slow down in space ?

That and the whole idea of riding on laser beam



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 06:07 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit
Outstanding post! I had to write this, because that´s what it is to me.

Adding to that, I´ve read a sify book about a craft traveling at almost the speed of light using antimatter.
It talks about eradicating whole solarsystems while doing it (because of mass/energy, in the book, the computer fails and it travels 200 years on lightspeed until the antimatter is empty (meaning it would put the crew 13k years into the future)

Reading that, I thought, great, you probably eradicated dozens of possible life harboring planets on the journey, just because of human curiosity...



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 06:19 PM
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a reply to: tsurfer2000h


originally posted by: lostbook

There's a new scientific endeavour in town and it's called Project Starshot. There isn't much known about it right now and there won't be much known until there is a press conference held about it; a press conference which will be held on Tuesday at 12 p.m. during an event at One World Observatory in New York. There's excitement about this mysterious project because some high-profile names are attached to it; namely billionaire investor- Yuri Milner, and Stephen Hawking.


ATS link - Stephen Hawking to Unveil New Space Exploration Project Tuesday

Zuckerburg is leeching his name on to the announcement hinted at yesterday. The Yuri dude is the main investor and Hawking the main draw. My issues are listed on the other thread (no need to repeat) but they are listed by other posters here as well.



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 06:29 PM
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originally posted by: Discotech
a reply to: tsurfer2000h

I'm still confused on how they're going to get it to decelerate in order for it to reach its target. As far as I know you need an equal amount of energy expended in the opposite in direction in order to slow down in space ?

That and the whole idea of riding on laser beam


No info on the nature of the laser just that the craft will travel on a beam of light.
Lasers have been used to super cool atoms so maybe they could use some kind of super conductor based engine. I don't have a clue if a super conductor could ride a beam of light or if anything can. Using light itself would take a while to get something up to those velocities needed also I can imagine.

The more I think about it the more I want to know, the mind boggles.

It seems serious though and obviously this quest will bring much scientific progress. Quantum computers, nanotech and laser based communication being but a few.



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 06:29 PM
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Double post.
edit on 12-4-2016 by RAY1990 because: double post..



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 06:31 PM
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a reply to: Discotech




I'm still confused on how they're going to get it to decelerate in order for it to reach its target.


That is something I am sure they will address, as they seem to be in the early phases of this mission.

I found this maybe it will help.

www.space.com...



That and the whole idea of riding on laser beam


Well it doesn't actually ride on a beam in the manner your probably thinking it would be, which threw me until I found they are using a laser sail that would use lasers to put it past Pluto then it uses that momentum to head to the new star, but it still will be interesting to see it work.



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 06:32 PM
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a reply to: RAY1990




No info on the nature of the laser just that the craft will travel on a beam of light.


Here you go...

www.space.com...



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 06:40 PM
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originally posted by: tsurfer2000h

From what they are saying they are trying to make one that can get to Alpha Centauri within 20 years of it's launch, so you may not have to wait that long, although the research to get this to happen may take longer as they have a lot of things to understand and figure out before it happens.


That makes more sense. There is a lot of stuff flying about at this time, NASA's proposal for a colony on Mars as well as the private venture in the same vein, and also NASA's proposes a new Moon venture, and also an Asteroid capture into a Moon orbit.
I'm sure Professor Hawking has that all under the radar, as I don't think this could be a stand alone venture, and there doesn't seem to be much info about a launch platform, while a Moon launch at this time would seem the best bet.
What about Alpha Centauri? It's something that exists since we see it, or is it a mirage of the real thing we see at these gravity light bending distances, and can you chase a mirage?



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