Using Lasers, A Cosmologist Hopes To Propel Spaceships To ⅕ Speed Of Light


Cosmologist Philip Lubin's 'Starshot' plan is a proposal to reach Alpha Centauri in a period of 20 years via lasers. Lubin claims a collection of powerful lasers will enable tiny spacecrafts to reach 1/5 the speed of light, according to MIT Technology Review.

Lubin's project has received funding and an endorsement from the late Stephen Hawking.

Starshot would build a collection of powerful lasers and put them together to create a single beam, which would have up to 100 gigawatts of power.

The beam would then be directed onto reflective light sails attached to a tiny spacecraft that is already in orbit. The beam will then set the spacecraft going at an enormous speed.

Starshot continues to have issues, though.

Thus far, there is no laser powerful enough for the project and there are no light sails in existence that could withstand such a powerful beam without being destroyed.

A spacecraft of the size that Lubin needs does not exist to make the journey, and it laser supply and laser location are still unclear.

Still, Starshot does not require any new physics or new technologies.

It continues to be a work in progress.

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