United States

Tiny laser-powered spacecraft could reach nearby star system in 20 years

A spacecraft so small it could fit in the palm of your hand may be the first to reach another star system in less than 20 years. Scientists have created the tiny craft, referred to as the wafercraft, with plans to propel it into space with lasers and learn more about what’s out in the universe. The spacecraft’s size means it can travel much farther and much more quickly than bigger space rockets, while still having the ability to relay information back to Earth. This way, we could learn a lot more about far-off places in the universe without having to wait for the creation of giant rocket ships that can travel as quickly as a miniature one. The spacecraft was designed by engineers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, ...