Russian internet billionaire Yuri Milner, an investor in tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and Flipkart, is making another propitious move at space exploration by proffering $100 million to a research and engineering programme aimed at demonstrating proof of concept for light-propelled nanocraft.
Milner has come together with legendary cosmologist Stephen Hawking to launch Breakthrough Starshot–which will see spacecraft fly at 20% of speed of light and capture images of possible planets and other scientific data in our nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, in just over 20 years after their launch.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is joining Milner and Hawking as a board member on Breakthrough Starshot.
One of the most celebrated Silicon Valley tech investors, Milner whose passion for space exploration is wellknown, had last July announced he was bankrolling a $100 million mission spanning ten years to find signs of an intelligent life outside of earth called Breakthrough Listen.
The project is releasing its initial observational datasets to the world for the first time through the Breakthrough Initiatives website.