Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and English celebrity physicist Stephen Hawking joined forces to announce a $100 million project to blast tiny spacecraft on a mission to "search for life in the Universe" on April 12.
The destination of the multiple nanocraft would be Alpha Centauri, our nearby star system, where astronomers say there may be an Earth-like planet that can support human life.
"55 years ago today, Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. Today, we are preparing for the next great leap — to the stars," Milner said in a statement on the launch of the "Breakthrough Starshot" program.
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is the third member of the program's board.