In a bid to explore some more intriguing objects in our own solar system and to search for life outside the Earth, NASA outlined a tentative mission that will allow it to send a spacecraft on an interstellar mission to explore the Alpha Centauri system.
According to NASA scientists, they are working on technology that may allow a spacecraft to reach ten percent of light speed and the ambition of the NASA scientists is to have it ready by 2069 with Alpha Centauri in its sights.
There is a possibility that the projected launch date would coincide with the 100th anniversary of the first moon landing. “It’s very nebulous,” Anthony Freeman, at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), told the New Scientist.
If everything goes by a plan and NASA succeeds at achieving ten percent of light speed with a spacecraft, it would allow them to reach the system with a probe in as little as 44 years.
Alpha Centauri is a system which is made up of three stars- Alpha Centauri A, Alpha Centauri B and the third one is Proxima Centauri. The system is around 4.3 light years from Earth.
However, NASA proposed mission is facing hindrances, firstly, the development of the propulsion technology that would allow a probe to travel the massive distance in a relatively short period of time.
Secondly, NASA is mulling over using more techniques, including laser-propelled sails which could be pushed to incredible speed, but putting such theoretical technology into practice is easier said than done.