Breakthrough Starshot concept would use a giant Earth-based laser array to accelerate a space sail to a significant fraction of the speed of light. Destination: Proxima Centauri b? Credit: Breakthrough Initiatives

The Alpha Centauri star system is ideal to search for habitable planets by various observing techniques due to its proximity and wide range of stellar masses. Following the recent discovery of an Earth-size planet candidate located inside the Proxima Centauri habitable zone, Dr. Marois discuss this remarkable discovery and the planet’s potential to find life, read more here ‘Earth-like planet found orbiting Alpha Centauri B‘ and here ‘Proxima b: A Earth-like planet discovered right next door‘.

He also presents our current instrument project for the Gemini South observatory, TIKI, to discover similar planets around the two Sun-like pair located 15,000 AU from Proxima Centauri. The Alpha Centauri system is the prime target of the Breakthrough Starshot program, a project to send small quarter-size probes to take resolve images of these new worlds and to prepare for Humanity’s first step into a new star system.