Newswise — Internet investor and science philanthropist Yuri Milner was joined at One World Observatory yesterday by renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking to announce a new breakthrough initiative focusing on space exploration and the search for life in the universe.

Breakthrough Starshot is a $100 million research and engineering program aiming to demonstrate proof of concept for light-propelled nanocrafts. These could fly at 20 percent of light speed and capture images of possible planets and other scientific data in our nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, just over 20 years after their launch.

Mason Peck, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Cornell University, is an advisory committee member for the Starshot project and is available to discuss it with members of the media.

Peck's academic research focuses on technology development for low-cost space missions, particularly in the areas of propulsion, navigation, and control. He is the former NASA Chief Technologist and co-author of three books on planetary exploration and spacecraft mechanisms.

Project press release:

Peck bio:

Nano satellites developed at Cornell:

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