Project Icarus is a British planned spacecraft that will, on a much later date, send probes and Satellite to stars that are light-years away!
This project is just now poking its head out of the planning and concept stage so it is unlikely we will see this craft in all of its glory until 2030 or 2040(But that’s a very soon estimate). This massive project is going to be nearly as tall as the empire state building and twice as tall as the Saturn V (5) moon Rocket. When this Rocket begins its Interstellar journey its goal is make it up to 12% the speed of light which will take 3.8 Years of accelerating at full power with a fusion based rocket. The rocket is also very heavily based of project Daedalus which was a project launched by the British to see if interstellar travel was possible (a design was made to show the amount of fuel needed).
The only people that will be able to see Icarus begin its journey and end it will be people born soon before it sets off on its quest that will take at least 80 years. The massive interstellar (out of the solar system) craft will go to Bernard’s star unless a better opportunity presents itself before assembly is complete. Bernard’s star is 5.8 light years from Earth, meaning that it takes 5.8 years for light form Bernard’s star to reach us on Earth. In 1998 a (solar) flair came off of Bernard’s star and was intensely studied leaving scientist wanting more.
Icarus is practically a community project; its goal is to recruit people that have an undying love for interstellar space travel and others that have extensive experience in technology, physics, anything that can help. The reasons I say it is nearly a community project is that you don’t need the collage EDU or 5.1 GPA’s every year of your high school career and collage. All you need is the skill. Also many of the older Daedalus researchers that pioneered interstellar travel are joining the team.
Icarus should be funded and kept above the ground because one day it may find a planet that harbors life, even better evolved and intelligent life! Finding intelligent life in space would spark the next space race and every country would want a piece of it.