First, I'm going to talk about Stephen Hawking. Hawking is an English theoretical physicist cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theorethical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. He has a rare early-onset, slow-progressing form of amytrophic lateral sclerosis. Nowadays, he can only move his eyes and he talks through a computer.
Stephen Hawking is backing a project by Yuri Milner, who is a billonaire, supported by Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. The project is to send tiny spacecraft to another star system within a generation.
But why do they want to do this?
Astronomers believe that there is a reasonable chance of a planet like the Earth orbiting one of the stars in the Alpha Centauri System.
The organisation 'Mr Milner's Break through Foundation' has brought together a group of scientists to ask them if it might be possible to develop spaceships capable of travelling to another star. They say that the nearest star system is 40 trillion km far away, so using current technology it would take about 30,000 years to get there, but they also say that with a little more research and development it might be possible to get there in o30 years.