Firing thousands of tiny spacecraft traveling 20 percent of the speed of light to Alpha Centauri using a massive laser beam is an astounding mission proposal. But Yuri Milner’s latest privately funded science initiative also ventures into some new frontiers for philanthropy. Tech billionaire Milner’s new Breakthrough Starshot initiative is a $100 million research and engineering project to prove that we could launch interstellar probes within a generation, boasting board members Mark Zuckerberg and Stephen Hawking and a prestigious team of advisers and researchers. The goal is so far out that even with the very real funding and notable participants, the whole project feels kind of dreamlike.
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