Spacecraft made from ultra-thin foam might be developed by scientists that could potentially reach the nearest neighboring star, Proxima Centauri. According to Newsweek's latest report, the scientists' hypothetical spacecraft made from an extremely thin layer of synthetic foam can possibly reach Earth's closest neighboring star, Proxima Centauri, in just about 185 years.  

Saltwire explained that this star is located in the multiple-star system Alpha Centauri, which is approximately 38 trillion kilometers away from Earth. The light that it emits takes four years to reach the planet, while Sun's light only takes 8.32 minutes. The current spaceship Voyager would take around 73,000 years before it could reach this star. For more interesting space studies, check the news updates at TechTimes. Also, check out how NASA prepares its Mars rover for the Martian mission. 

Also Read: NASA Prepares Perseverance Mars Rover for Launch for its 2020 Mission to Discover Ancient Martian Life

The new study will be published by the Journal Astronomy and Physics. However, there is no schedule provided yet. A researcher from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Germany, Rene Heller, together with his colleagues, suggested that if the spacecraft can be developed, it must be used for interstellar travel, the space outside the solar system. 

The scientists estimated that it would cost $1 million to build the prototype and $10 million more to launch it to an interplanetary mission. It was explained that spacecraft would be made from carbon-based foam aerographite, which is 15,000 times lighter compared to aluminum. This foam is light and versatile enough to be used in developing solar sails, which can be used to collect the energy emitted by the Sun's propulsion process called solar photon pressure.  

How can the spacecraft reach Proxima Centauri in short time  

Rene Heller explained in the report that packages of energy that physicists call photons to build up light. Although these particles don't have a mass, it can still carry momentum and energy. 

Photons release its energy and momentum to the object it collides to, giving it a tiny push. Because of the weight of the object, the packages of energy can only make a small impact. However, if the object is an ultralight material, just like aerographit, photons can push it, creating significant speed. 

"We found out that a thin layer of aerographite, with a thickness of about 1 millimeter (0.04 inches), can be pushed to speeds that are sufficiently high to let it escape the solar system," said Rene. 

"Once it has gained an initial push from the solar radiation pressure, it will simply float through space," he added. 

The scientists claimed that if the spacecraft released from Earth only has a shell, which is just 0.5 millimeters thick, it can reach Mars in about 60 days and Pluto in just 4.3 years compared to the time it took New Horizons.Heller said that the spaceship could be faster than any spacecraft that was launched by any space agencies currently. Spacecraft uses solar photon sails made of graphene that could travel 100 kilometers per second or even 100 kilometers per second. For more exciting space theories, keep your tabs at TechTimes.  

Also Read: NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Has 3 Other Crucial Goals You Probably Don't Know Yet Besides Finding Ancient Life

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Written by: Giuliano de Leon.

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