A non-profit organization called “Mission Centaur” is looking for help from private institutions willing to fund their project that will send a miniature telescope to Alpha Centauri in hopes of finding another “Earth”.
Such a landmark event would be akin to a new Apollo moon landing: advancing technology in our daily lives and boosting public morale for science funding—something I think many of us would agree on.
Because of the size of the mini-telescope, the cost is dramatically reduced, making the project much less costly than the Hubble or Kepler telescopes.
Also when the satellite is not viewing the star system’s exoplanets, it will be open to the public for stargazing—making more astronomical advances likely.
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NASA’s Potential Partners: SpaceX, Bigelow Aerospace, Blue Origin, Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Virgin Galactic.
Possible Earth Proxima (“Proxima-b”): http://www.space.com/33834-discovery-of-planet-proxima-b.html