A group of billionaires and scientists is reportedly planning an interstellar mission to Alpha Centauri involving a fleet of iPhone-sized ships that would be accelerated to a fifth of the speed of light by ground-based lasers. They would travel 600,000 miles in the first two minutes of their journey and reach Alpha Centauri in about 20 years. (Although – unfortunately – don’t expect a launch date before the mid-2030s.)
Called “Breakthrough Starshot,” the plan is described in today’s New York Times.
As a confessed science fiction nerd, I have to say that this is really, really neat. I just hope to live long enough to see the first images beamed back from another star system.