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These are the adventures of the "StarChip Wafersize."

UC Santa Barbara students sent up, via balloon, a prototype miniature spacecraft that might eventually become the "wafercraft" that researchers posit could be propelled by lasers to achieve at relativistic speeds to reach nearby star systems and exoplanets.

So begins a journey, funded by NASA and several private foundations, that may one day lead to .

"It's part of a process of building for the future, and along the way you test each part of the system to refine it," said UC Santa Barbara physics professor and experimental cosmologist Philip Lubin. "It's part of a long-term program to develop miniature spacecraft for interplanetary and eventually for interstellar flight."

What could possibly go wrong?
Category: Science