Russian billionaire Yuri Milner who is known to back several Internet and space ventures is now planning to work on another wild ambitious research project Breakthrough Project. This will aim at developing tiny, unmanned spaceships to fly into the Alpha Centauri star system.
Milner will pursue this project in collaboration with theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. The surprising part about this project is the size of the spaceships will supposedly be size of a butterfly. They will be powered by giant solar sails not rocket fuel.
So this Breakthrough Starshot team will design ships that can travel at one-fifth the speed of light and will launch thousands in case some break down or are destroyed along the way.
The crafts will arrive in Alpha Centauri after 20 years, will take the photographs of the planet and beam photos back to Earth. For this whole project Milner has pledged $100 million.
For this mission, Yuri has selected a team of NASA scientists and engineers. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook will also join project’s board of directors.
Last July, he also announced to spend $100 million on Breakthrough Listen over the next decade, reinvigorating what had been a mostly dormant search for extraterrestrial life.