A spacecraft so small it can fit in your hand may be the first to reach another star system – taking less than 20 years.
Students created the tiny wafercraft and plan to propel it through space with lasers on Earth pushing on a laser “sail” on the wafercraft to explore the universe.
Its size means it can travel much further and much quicker than rockets and still send information home from its 40 trillion kilometre trip to the nearest star.
The spacecraft was designed by engineers from the University of California, Santa Barbara and it weighs as much as a stick of chewing gum.
It had its first flight last month – launched by balloon it reached an altitude of more than 30km – three times as high as airliners and took 4000 5megapixel photos of Earth.