NASA JPL trying to develop 2069 mission to Alpha Centauri

NASA JPL is targeting an interstellar mission to launch by 2069 to Alpha Centauri.

A 2016 funding bill called upon NASA to investigate methods of interstellar travel that could reach at least 10 percent of the speed of light by 2069. It also requested a mission to Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to our own.

Scientists are working on the kinds of technology that would allow a probe to travel at 10 percent of the speed of light. Researchers are considering laser-powered probes, as well as nuclear propulsion, sail power and thrust derived from collisions between antimatter and matter.

Even at 10 percent of the speed of light, it would still take nearly a half-century to reach the star system, which lies 4.37 light years from our solar system. That leaves plenty of time for problems to arise.