The speed of light is the fastest and it is believed that if we can travel faster than it, we can see the future. A team of researchers has joined hands with Stephen Hawking in building a nano- starship, StarChip.
The nano- starship is being equipped to travel at a one-fifth speed of the light. The ship is named StarChip. If the project becomes successful, the ship will able to travel to the Earth’s closest star system, Alpha Centauri, in 20 years.
Stephen Hawking first announced the Breakthrough Starshot project back in April, in collaboration with the team of researchers from Korea Institute of Science and Technology. The only doubt that remained with regard to StarChip is if it could survive twenty years long journey.
NASA then joined hands with the Stephen Hawking and team to help build a ship that could survive the two-decade long journey. The researchers claimed that the high- energy radiation in space could obstruct the functionality of the ship before it reaches its destination.
NASA thereby proposed few options to prevent withering away of the ship in-between the journey. Such findings that are to be incorporated at the developmental stage of the ship was presented by NASA at the International Electron Devices Meeting in San Francisco recently.
NASA initially proposed to adjust the route of the ship so as to avoid entering high- energy radiation areas. However, adopting such a measure shall increase the time of the journey.
Alternative idea is to built a protective shield around the ship so that it protects the electronic. Nevertheless, protective shield would increase the weight and size of the ship thereby, affecting its speed.
As a last resort NASA researchers have recommended to attach a silicon chip that would automatically repair itself. Nasa team member Jin-Woo Han stated, “On-chip healing has been around for many, many years,” in the presentation.
Hawking talking about this project explained, “The limit that confronts us now is the great void between us and the stars.” “But now we can transcend it. With light beams, light sails, and the lightest spacecraft ever built, we can launch a mission to Alpha Centauri within a generation.” Further he added, “Today, we commit to this next great leap into the cosmos because we are human, and our nature is to fly.”