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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Smallest fully functional space probes now in orbit are precursors to interstellar chipsats

• nextbigfuture.com by brian wang

Small chip probes have been launched into low Earth orbit on June 23. Sprites are 'satellites on a chip,'. Research performed by Mason Peck and his team at Cornell University included Breakthrough Starshot's Zac Manchester Zac used a Kickstarter campaign to develop the concept in 2011.

These are the smallest fully functional space probes ever put into space. Each 3.5-by-3.5 centimeter probe built upon a single circuit board and weighing in at just four grams. A Sprite can contain solar panels, computers, communications capability and an array of sensors. The tiny spacecraft's electronics all function off the 100 milliwatts of electricity each generates.

Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner has put $100 million into funding the first five years of the Breakthrough Starshot project. Th goal is to develop chips with a weight of roughly one gram and fit them to a lightweight sail before propelling them through space with a 100-billion watt laser.

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