How Research And Engineering Can Lead Us Deeper Into Space
Is there other life out there? Astonishing findings in recent years and cutting-edge research are bringing us ever closer to answering one of the most fundamental questions in science. The discovery of planets outside our solar system likely to have habitable conditions has thrilled astronomers hunting for a world resembling ours. This appeals to more than just our existential curiosity and fascination with ‘aliens’; the threat to life on earth is real: climate change, the risk of nuclear wars, asteroid impacts, exploding stars, and the death of the sun all give reason to search for a plan B. One of the pioneers in the field of early star and galaxy formation, Abraham (Avi) Loeb is a professor and chair of the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University, founding director of the Black Hole Initiative, and chair of the Advisory Committee of the Breakthrough Starshot initiative. This latest stage of his highly distinguished career focuses on practical solutions for deep space exploration. Using a fleet of laser-powered nanocrafts, the Starshot initiative is a stepping stone towards developing the technologies needed for a long-term mission to explore the Alpha Centauri star system to transmit research data and images to Earth. At Falling Walls, Avi talks about the staggering potentials to break new frontiers in our quest to find extraterrestrial life.