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Breakthrough Starshot in Pictures: Laser Sail Nanocraft to See Alpha Centauri

A Starshot is Born

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

On Aprl 12, 2016, famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking and investor Yuri Milner unveiled Breakthrough Starshot, a $100 million project to develop the tech needed to send a probe to Alpha Centauri on a 20-year journey. See photos from the announcement and the mission concept here. THIS IMAGE: Yuri Milner, Breakthrough Prize and DST Global Founder, announces Breakthrough Starshot, a new space exploration initiative, on April 12, 2016 in New York City. The space program aims to fly tiny "nanocrafts" to a nearby star system powered by ground-based lasers.

Breakthrough Starshot Nanocraft

Breakthrough Prize Foundation (via Livestream)

An illustration depicts the Breakthrough Starshot Nanocraft, revealed at a press conference on April 12, 2016.

Stephen Hawking at Breakthrough Starshot Press Conference

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Cosmologist Stephen Hawking co-hosted a press conference to announce Breakthrough Starshot, a new space exploration initiative, on April 12, 2016, in New York City.

How Breakthrough Starshot's Starchip Interstellar Probes Would Work (Infographic)

by Karl Tate, Infographics Artist

The postage-stamp-sized space probes of Breakthrough Starshot could make a flyby of planets around Alpha Centauri within 20 years after launch. See how Breakthrough Starshot could work in our full infographic.

Lasers Powering Breakthrough Starshot Nanocraft

Breakthrough Prize Foundation

A still from a video shows how an array of lasers on Earth would propel a "nanocraft" to a distant star system in the Breakthrough Starshot space initiative. Video released April 12, 2016.

Speakers at Breakthrough Starshot Press Conference

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

A panel speaks at the announcement of Breakthrough Starshot, a new space exploration initiative, on April 12, 2016, in New York City. (L to R) Stephen Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, Dennis Stanton Avery and Sally Tsui Wong-Avery Director of Research, University of Cambridge; Freeman Dyson, Emeritus Professor, Princeton Institute for Advanced Study; Ann Druyan, Producer, Co-Founder and CEO of Cosmos Studios; Avi Loeb, Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University

Milner Displays Chip for Breakthrough Starshot

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Yuri Milner, Breakthrough Prize and DST Global Founder, demonstrates a new chip during a press conference to announce Breakthrough Starshot, a new space exploration initiative, on April 12, 2016, in New York City.

Breakthrough Starshot Revealed at One World Observatory

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Yuri Milner (L) and Stephen Hawking (in wheelchair) co-hosted a press conference to announce Breakthrough Starshot, a new space exploration initiative on April 12, 2016, in New York City.

Breakthrough Starshot Group Photo

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

(L to R) Ann Druyan, Producer, Co-Founder and CEO of Cosmos Studios; Zac Manchester, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Harvard University; Yuri Milner, Breakthrough Prize and DST Global Founder; Stephen Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, Dennis Stanton Avery and Sally Tsui Wong-Avery Director of Research, University of Cambridge; Freeman Dyson, Emeritus Professor, Princeton Institute for Advanced Study; Mae Jamison, NASA Astronaut, Principal 100 Year Starship Foundation; Peter Worden, Chairman, Breaktrough Prize Foundation, Former NASA Director; Avi Loeb, Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University; and Philip Lubin, UC Santa Barbara Physics professor, pose for a photo together on stage after a press conference to announce Breakthrough Starshot, a new space exploration initiative, April 12, 2016, in New York City.

Stephen Hawking and Breakthrough Starshot Panelists

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

(L to R) Stephen Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, Dennis Stanton Avery and Sally Tsui Wong-Avery Director of Research, University of Cambridge; Yuri Milner, Breakthrough Prize and DST Global Founder; Peter Worden, Chairman, Breaktrough Prize Foundation, Former NASA Director; Avi Loeb, Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University; and Philip Lubin, UC Santa Barbara Physics Professor, appear following a press conference to announce Breakthrough Starshot, a new space exploration initiative, on April 12, 2016, in New York City.

Milner and Hawking at Breakthrough Starshot Even

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Yuri Milner (L) and Stephen Hawking (R, in wheelchair) co-hosted a press conference to announce Breakthrough Starshot, a new space exploration initiative, on April 12, 2016, in New York City.

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