Nanocraft Sailing to Alpha Centauri System. Bob Zimmerman,

Apr 15, 2016, 05:56 AM

04-14-2016 (Photo: Artist rendition in orbit in the Alpha Centauri system.) Twitter: @BatchelorShow "Nanocraft Sailing to Alpha Centauri System. Bob Zimmerman, Russian internet billionaire Yuri Milner today proposed making a genuine journey to the stars: a program to develop a tiny spacecraft, weighing less than a gram, and propel it across nearly 40 trillion kilometers of space to the nearest star to study any planets there. Instead of a futuristic propulsion system, the “nanocraft” will “leave their fuel behind,” Milner told a press conference in New York City this afternoon. The craft will have a solar sail, a few meters across and weighing a few grams. Powerful Earth-based lasers would boost the craft, which would be waiting in Earth's orbit, with an acceleration of 60,000 g for a few minutes to reach 20% of the speed of light—fast enough to reach Alpha Centauri in 20 years. “It’s the first time in human history that we can do more than just stare at the stars,” Milner said.

“The history of Falcon 9’s recoverable first stage This is a beautiful short supercut of the history of SpaceX’s effort to develop a recoverable first stage. Hat tip Rand Simberg. “The video notes that it took less four years, from the first flight of Grasshopper to the first successful landing by a Falcon 9 first stage. This is the kind of pace I remember as a child in the America I grew up in. New ideas were fast and continuous, and things moved. I pray we are heading for a new renaissance where things will move again.”