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This is Nano-Starship Which Can Travels at 20% The Speed of Light

DEFENSE AND TECHNOLOGY -- The US space agency and a team of scientists, including Stephen Hawking, is developing a nano-starship made from a single silicon chip that can travel one-fifth the speed of light.

In theory the miniature spacecraft could arrive at Earth’s closest star system, Alpha Centauri, in 20 years – 100-times faster than a conventional spacecraft can achieve.

Hawking announced the ground-breaking project back in April which aims to slash interstellar space exploration times by using lasers to propel a nano-spacecraft the size of a postage stamp, called StarChip.

READ MORE: Hawking & Milner to send interstellar craft to Alpha Centauri 'within a generation'

However, a 1cm-sized ship in space faces some major obstacles, in particular, radiation, according to researchers at NASA and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) who are working on the project.

Scientists say the long-term exposure to the high-energy radiation in space would accumulate a series of defects in the chip’s silicon dioxide layer, “where they degrade device performance”.

The most serious of the impairments is an increase in the current that leaks through a transistor when it’s supposed to be turned off, writes Spectrum, citing Yang-Kyu Choi, leader of the team at KAIST.


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