From Earth to Proxima Centauri in 20 Years: The Project Breakthrough Starshot
In 2016, the La Silla Observatory in Chile identified Proxima b, the closest exoplanet known to us today: it orbits in the habitable belt of its own star, Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf located 4.2 light years away. from us, in the direction of the Centaurus constellation. Proxima Centauri is part of the Alpha Centauri system, a triple system consisting of a yellow dwarf and an orange dwarf very close to each other and from Proxima. Proxima is a red dwarf, probably the most widespread stellar type in the Milky Way
The Breakthrough Starshot, is a project , the goal is to move From Earth to Proxima Centauri in 20 Years.
According to statistics, it is estimated that Proxima Centauri produces flares of this magnitude at least five times a year. Evryscope, a series of small telescopes that observe the stars in the southern hemisphere, detected a superflare that made Proxima 70 times brighter in 2016.
The planetary system of Proxima Centauri have inspired several projects. Among the best known, the Breakthrough Starshot, also born from the Breakthrough Initiatives. Starshot is a research and engineering project announced in 2016 and born to develop a fleet of sailing interstellar probes and laser propulsion. It was founded by Yuri Milner, Stephen Hawking and Mark Zuckerberg. In 2017, NASA also proposed a probe to look for biosignatures on the planets around the stars of the Alpha Centauri system. The launch, taking place by 2069, would celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.
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