NASA has set their sights on Alpha Centauri, the star closest to our Solar System, and wants the mission to take place in 2069 and look for signs of alien life.
After reaching the moon (again) and actually getting to Mars, the American Space agency wants to turn mankind into an interstellar species.
Despite the fact that the ‘mission’ does not have a name yet and most of the technology necessary to take us there does not even exist, the projected launch date would coincide with the centenary of the arrival of mankind to the Moon.
NASA is yet to develop the necessary technology to travel to Alpha Centauri in a reasonable time. Image Credit: Shutterstock
Initially, scientists say that a spaceship which would need to travel at a minimum of 10 percent of the speed of light would be required to get us there.
The Alpha Centauri constellation is located 4.4 light-years away, and even if one-tenth of the speed of light were achieved, we would be able to visit the star system after a 44-year journey, reaching our nearest neighbor in 2113.
This means we need to ramp up our tech game. In order for mankind to really become an interstellar species, colonize other planets and moons, first in our solar system, we need to develop a technology that’s affordable, reusable, and fast. Really fast.
According to the New Scientist, NASA is considering sending tiny laser-powered probes that, in theory, can travel at a quarter of the speed of light. Other techniques under consideration include the use of nuclear reactions, or through collisions between antimatter and matter.
However, there are other options experts will consider. But, time is ticking so NASA will need all the help it can get to make a trip to Alpha Centauri a reality.
Perhaps the best way to start their journey to our closest cosmic neighbor is by developing a technology that would get us to Mars in a matter of weeks, then days.
Getting to Mars, and creating a transportation system between the two planets could serve as a starting point for further technology in development, and it would make traveling to Mars something routine.
As reported by Newsweek, NASA’s revolutionary mission in 2069 will visit Proxima B, a planet that was discovered not long ago and may be a world very similar to Earth. Interestingly, the manager of the Innovation Foundry at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Anthony Freeman called the entire project “very nebulous.”
Proxima Centauri B is an exoplanet orbiting within the habitable zone of the closest star to the Sun—the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, which is in a triple star system. The planet—which has been hailed as Earth’s twin in the past—is located around 4.2 light-years from Earth, which makes it the closest known exoplanet to the Solar System.
In comparison, the only man-made spacecraft that has reached interstellar space is Voyager-1, which is currently traveling at LESS than 1 percent of 1 percent of the speed of life, reports Newsweek.
IF Voyager-1 had the ability to travel at 10 percent the speed of light, it would make it to Alpha Centauri in about 44 years.