Space exploration with nano-spacecraft

Nanotechnology was highly theorized in space travels for a long time. They could be highly beneficial for the minimization of risk for humans in space, and many organisations have been working on it. However, the real race started when a Russian billionaire, Yuri Milner, created a project, alongside other famous personalities like Mark Zuckerburg and Stephen Hawking, for a manmade invention to get near Alpha Centauri. This was dubbed as the Starshot Initiative. It will be, in the future, be guided Pete Worden, who himself was the ex – director of research in NASA. It is aimed that this project will be made possible in the latter half of the century. This could be the mason that paves the path for the next step in mankind’s interstellar travel. This could be the proving grounds for nanotechnology in space exploration.

Working of the Starshot Initiative

It works this way. An organization called the Breakthrough organisation put forward some proposals to send a horde of more than a 1000 extremely tiny robots into the nearest star. These robots are the so called nanobots, and their functioning works on a nano scale. For this to actually work, the robots are first transported in to space by a rocket. Concentrated laser beams are then shot from earth, propelling these tiny robots into orbit, and hopefully, let them reach Alpha Centauri. Many hundreds of robots are estimated to get destroyed in their orbit(s), hence, thousands of robots are required. They should theoretically be able to move at 1/5th the speed of light, and hence, many will face disintegration. Those robots which reach Alpha Centauri will transmit data back. The entire travel to Alpha Centauri will take more than 20 years, as it is 4 light years away. Once there, it will take 4 years for the transmitted data to reach earth. This project is expected to be done with collaboration from various agencies.

Achievements of the Starshot Initiative

The Starshot initiative is revolutionary for a variety of reasons. For one, it proves that travelling to other suns is not some dreamy science fiction idea, it may actually be possible. Another reason is that we can actually usher in the first working nanobots mass used in interstellar space travels. Mankind’s crave to explore is huge, and very soon, we may be able to explore the wonders of space to our hearts content, but there must be a starting point, and this could be the most revolutionary thing since Yuri Gagarin went to space or Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon.

Further Utilization of Nanotechnology Nanotechnology is a powerful weapon, and if used properly, we could once again get track of our inbuilt tendency to explore, seeing as the earth is no longer up for exploration. It is truly fascinating, and the first robots, ever, to reach near another star can in fact be seen by some people alive today. The initiative is a huge one, and if proved successful, the wonders of nanotechnology can be better accessed, seeing as how a lot of money is being thrown into a proven concept.


By: Nancy Baker | General | Jan 1 1970
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