Science

New Spacecraft Designed To Search Aliens Nearby

By Irene Guerrero , Feb 02, 2017 04:40 AM EST
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A new spacecraft is developed to solve the many attempts to travel beyond our solar system to search for aliens. One of the greatest challenge is on how to slow down the space crafts we send into outer space. In a study published today, astronomers from the Max Planck Institute of Solar Research claim that they have found a way to set it into orbit once it arrives.

This is not the first attempt to send a spaceship to our closest stellar system, Proxima Centauri. Last year Stephen Hawking’s Breakthrough Starshot, aimed to build and sending a prototype of a light-propelled spaceship to the region. However, the problem was that the prototype, which is based on a probe fitted with a light sail. Would not have ways of slowing down once it reached the region.

An interstellar sail is a lightweight probe, pushed by the photon pressure of starlight. Protons in space push the sail, identical to winds on Earth. The small silicon chip spacecraft would travel at one-fifth the speed of light.

Astronomers propose a sail that would be accelerated by the starlight from the sun. The probe would be able to orbit the planet within 100 years. Many believe that that if alien exists, this system is the best chance to discover it. Four light years away, researchers were able to find a planet. The planet named Proxima b, orbits its host stars in the habitable zone.

The planet is believed that could potentially have water on its surface. It is the first exoplanet most identical to Earth that was ever discovered. Hippke told Wired, if the sail has sensors on board, it could detect life on Proxima b. Simulations show that the probe could reach the star with estimated at 96 years.

According to Inverse, current design for the Starshot nanocraft calls for the use of light sails to propel them forward. Researchers at NASA and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology are currently working on the improvements of the first Starshot light sail probe. The development of the new spacecraft raises concern whether something valuable will be found when the probe reaches the Alpha Centauri.

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