What's the Latest Development?
Project Icarus, a five-year study into the feasibility of sending an unmanned spacecraft to another star, could provide vast amounts of new scientific data and an extraordinary close-up of habitable foreign planets. The project's director of "Scientific Objectives" recently discussed the science that could be carried out during an interstellar journey and once the craft had arrived at a foreign star system. In choosing a destination for an interstellar craft, priority would be given to a system where a habitable planet could be found.
What's the Big Idea?
There are a number of scientific tasks that could be completed en route to a foreign star system but since these data could be gathered on the way to anywhere, planners would consider the destination of primary importance. Knowledge of star systems within 15 light years outside our own remains limited but can be expected to increase in the coming decades. That discovery process may occur in tandem with technological develops needed to successfully explore foreign star systems.