NASA is going to continue its hunt for alien life in space. It is expected to travel at 10 percent of the speed of light.
The American space research company has announced its plans to launch a space rocket that will look for alien life in Alpha Centauri. However, the launch of the spacecraft to the star system will take place only in 2069, when NASA will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Apollo 11 taking human beings to the moon for the first time.
Now, the distance between Alpha Centauri and Earth is 24.9 trillion miles. Even though the spacecraft is expected to travel at 30 million meters per second, it will still take 44 years to reach the destination. That means the NASA spacecraft will reach Alpha Centauri only in 2113.
The group that is planning the project at NASA is called Jet Propulsion Laboratory, based in Pasadena, California. Anthony Freeman presented the concept at the 2017 American Geophysical Union conference in New Orleans earlier in December. According to Freeman, the concept is quite "nebulous." The project is yet to be named, and the technology required for its success is yet to be discovered.
Alpha Centauri consists of three stars: Proxima Centauri, Centauri A and Centauri B. Last year, there was a lot of excitement when an exoplanet called Proxima b was found orbiting Proxima Centauri in the Alpha Centauri system. The planet, with mild temperature, seems extremely habitable for life.
According to the New Scientist, the inspiration of this project comes from a 2016 bill that approves additional funding for NASA to continue its research on interplanetary travel.
U.S. President Donald Trump approved the NASA Transition Authorization Act that will give $19.5 billion to NASA for fiscal year 2018. Lawmakers want NASA to develop a promising space economy in this century, The Hill reported.
Only one spacecraft has been able to leave the solar system so far. The Voyager 1, launched in 1977, managed to send critical information about other planets and its stars in the solar system. According to the Daily Mirror, the spacecraft had less power than an iPhone. Voyager 1 travels at 38,000 mph.