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Posted: 12 October, 2017

Breakthrough initiatives and Interstellar travel

Pete Warden – Chairman of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation and former Director of NASA Ames Research Center gave a lecture on interstellar travel. He also introduced the space cadets to the Breakthrough prize initiatives and the challenges that lie before not only them but to us all as human kind.

The Breakthrough Prizes honor important achievements in the categories of Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences and Mathematics. He raised important questions regarding life on Earth as we know it are there any other forms of life, and if there are, could they be intelligent.

Starting from that point he introduced the cadets to the idea of Interstellar travelling and what it would take to make a real one to the nearest star – Alpha Centauri.  He gave them a real problem to solve – how to travel 4.38 light years in less than 80 thousand earth years (that is the time it would take to Voyager to reach Alpha Centauri if it was pointed in the right direction).

Eventually he acquainted them to the prototype that he and his colleagues work on by introducing a spacecraft that will be send on that journey – a piece of electronics so small that it weighs only 4 grams and is equipped with every major system a satellite should have, including a camera!

As bold as this endeavor is, Pete Worden also announced another one – a private mission to Enceladus (Saturn’s sixth largest moon) whose goal is to explore fine sprays of water vapor, icy particles and simple organic molecules coming from fractures near the moon’s south pole.

Stay tuned for more updates!


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