CGA scientists in collaboration with The Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics are developing architecture for an ambitious initiative to sail an ultra-lightweight spacecraft to travel to the nearest star, Alpha Centauri, about four light years away from the Earth. The spacecraft would reach the destination within 20 years of launch. This journey, if possible at all, can take more than 100 lifetimes with the current technology. The technology proposed by the team involves a giant laser array with millions of lasers acting in concert to illuminate the sail and push the spacecraft onto its interstellar journey.
The ANU team has expertise in different areas of optics spanning astronomy, gravitational wave instrumentation, fiber-optic sensors and optical phased arrays.