They are making the Starcraft chip for about $75. They need to make the density of Starchip closer to light sail material.
They are building and working on various components of the system.
Starshot will use the energy of the Space Shuttle engine to propel a tiny 1 gram sail to 20% of lightspeed.
Contribution to solar system exploration. The Breakthrough Starshot concept could enable rapid solar system missions. At 20% of light speed, a nanocraft could reach Mars in an hour (it currently takes around 9 months), Pluto in a day (the New Horizons probe took 9 years) and interstellar space in about a week. Even at 2% of light speed, journey times would be significantly reduced.
* Using the light beamer as a telescope. The light beamer would constitute a kilometer-scale telescope in its own right. No such instrument exists today for optical astronomical observations.
* Asteroid detection. The light beamer could potentially be used to detect Earth-crossing asteroids at large distances.
StarChip component has 20 millimeter on a side but weighs 0.2 grams.
The lightsail is envisioned to be no larger than 4 by 4 meters (13 by 13 feet), possibly of composite graphene-based material.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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