POCKET ROCKET

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | STUFF -

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.

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