Yuri Milner, the founder of DST Global, a group of Russian funds internationally, is investing $100m in an unmanned interstellar space mission project called Breakthrough Starshot, Firrma.ru reported. The project is part of a much broader scientific and technological research program designated Breakthrough Initiatives.
In the new research effort, scientists are reportedly developing technology that is expected to dramatically boost the current velocity of man-made objects. In a comment on his plans Mr. Milner said that over the past century mankind has managed to increase the speed of human movement roughly by a factor of 1,000.
The venture capitalist and billionaire also noted that with conventional fuel, reaching “the star that is the source of signals we have received” may take up to 75,000 years. New solutions are expected to step up this process significantly.
“That is why our charity fund has allocated $100m for the stage of conceptual engineering development. This project has already been funded for four years and is expected to take ten years to complete,” the Russian entrepreneur said.
In 2015, Mr. Milner and Stephen Hawking, a famous British theoretical physicist and cosmologist, teamed up to launch an extraterrestrial civilization search program called Breakthrough Listen. Two years later, the project founders announced the successful launch and testing of their Sprite nanodimensional space probes. Improved versions of the probes may soon be launched to the Alpha Centauri star system.