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Could “solar sailing” take us to Alpha Centauri?

"Project Starshot" is worthy of admiration for chutzpah alone

By Philip Ball  

Alpha and Beta Centuari star systems, visible above the European Southern Observatory ©Y. Beletsky, ESO

Read more: Will gravitational waves help us discover cosmic strings?

I’m usually sceptical about eye-catching space missions bankrolled by rich men and launched in the presence of Stephen Hawking. So I’m surprised to find myself intrigued by Yuri Milner’s Project Starshot. Milner is a Russian billionaire entrepreneur who founded the Breakthrough Foundation, which funds ambitious research to explore the universe and…

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