Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have developed a concept that proposes sending small spaceships to other solar systems. To achieve this, a laser-based system will be required, which will have the ability to receive so-called “StarChip” vehicles at speeds corresponding to 20-30 percent of the speed of light.
The idea is that these small spaceships can record different data and send the result back to Earth. It is also suggested that microscopic but extremely hardy bears could be sent on interstellar flights using this technology. If you successfully developed a system like this, you could theoretically get StarChip speeds of around 161 million km/h. At these speeds, it would take, say, about 20 years to send spaceships to our neighboring star Proxima Centauri.
In this context, it is worth noting that NASA’s Voyager spacecraft, the man-made spacecraft that has moved away from Earth, has a speed of 56,000 km / h. It took the Voyager spacecraft more than 40 years to leave the heliosphere of our solar system fairly recently. If they set a path for Proxima Centauri, it would take more than 80,000 years before they got there.
There is no mention of when development of such a system could begin or be ready. However, it is stated that this is a generation project, so it is doubtful that something like this could be completed during our lifetime.