By Jane Nambi
A new alien planet was announced yesterday by researchers. The planet however cannot be visited for now because it is too hot to allow the current technology to explore it.
A robotic exoplanet mission launching today “would require about 40,000 years to get to Alpha Centauri,” Greg Laughlin, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told reporters Tuesday. “So, given our propensity for instant gratification, that’s not really an option that’s on the table.”
One light-year is about 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion kilometers). So the three stars in Alpha Centauri are more than 25 trillion miles (40 trillion km) from Earth.
“You might see a groundswell of excitement to look at new kinds of propulsion technologies, new kinds of missions that could get to Alpha Centauri — not manned, but putting an unmanned probe there in a relatively short period of time, human-lifespan kinds of time frames,” he said.
Researchers are already trying to develop next-generation, super-fast propulsion systems, which include such concepts as nuclear rockets and antimatter fusion drives.
“I think it really comes down to what the inventory of these stars looks like, whether there will be the extraordinary effort and excitement that are required to do those sorts of really groundbreaking things,” Laughlin said.