The $100m Breakthrough Starshot plans to send light-sail powered space probes to Alpha Centauri, at 20% the speed of light. This major private project was announced yesterday by an all-star panel, including Stephen Hawking, Freeman Dyson, Mark Zuckerberg and others. The final cost seems likely to be around $12bn. Cosmos magazine covers the technical details, and the Daily Mail rounds up all the videos.


I’ve Photoshopped together a clutch of public domain ISS pictures and my new 3D render, for a quick impression of such a probe (above). Slightly aggrandized, as the actual interstellar payload will be less of a pole and more of a small box. But such probes bound only for the solar system (Pluto in three days!) might perhaps be a big as this.