Travel

Tiny laser-powered spacecraft could travel to the far reaches of the solar system and beyond

Tiny laser-powered spacecraft could travel to the far reaches of the solar system and beyond

Miniature spaceships the size of cellphones could fly through the solar system using sails powered by lasers, which would allow the tiny spacecraft to reach much faster speeds – and, potentially, much farther destinations – than conventionally powered rockets, according to a new study.

Current spacecraft typically take years to make trips through the solar system; for example, NASA New Horizons the probe took nearly 10 years to reach Pluto.