Russian billionaire Yuri Milner pumps $100bn into Breakthrough Starshot

Breakthrough Starshot: Russian billionaire internet investor Yury Milner  has joined forces with the world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking and Facebook founder Mark Zukerberg to launch a revolutionary $100m project to construct a robot research spacecraft capable of covering a distance of 4.37 light years – the distance between Earth and our closest star system Alpha Centauri –  in just 20 years.
The two men  presented their Breakthrough Starshot program at a joint press conference in New York on April 12, the 55th anniversary of the first orbit of the planet by the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. The project’s director will be the former director of NASA’s AMES Research Center Peter Worden.
Breakthrough Starshot will test the knowhow and technologies necessary to send a featherweight robot spacecraft to the Alpha Centauri star system,using a 100 billion-watt laser-powered light beam  that would accelerate a “nanocraft” – something weighing little more than a sheet of paper and driven by a sail not much bigger than a child’s kite, fashioned from fabric only a few hundred atoms in thickness – to the three nearest stars at 60,000km a second.
As of 2015 Yury Milner’s net worth is estimated at $3.2 billion (he is ranked 32nd place on the Russian Forbes list). He has invested in many technology companies, including Xiaomi, Spotify and Airbnb. In 2013, together with Apple board director Arthur Levinson, Google creator Sergei Brin and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, he established the Breakthrough Prize Foundation. The prize is awarded annually in several nominations, such as physics and biomedicine.

Source: rbth