A spacecraft so small it may fit into the palm of your hand may be the first to reach another star system in less than 20 years.
Scientists have created this tiny force, referred to as the wafercraft, with plans to propel it into lasers and learn more about what is happening in the universe.
The spacecraft's size means that it can travel much further and much quicker than bigger space rockets, while still being able to relay information back to Earth.
This way we could learn more about far away places in the universe without having to wait for the creation of huge rocket ships that can travel as fast as a miniature one.
Designed by engineers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and spacecraft, it weighs as much as a chewing gum.
It has its first test flight in April and flew more than 100,000 feet while managing to take 4,000 photos.
The scientists think the spacecraft could send us pictures of far off stars or even take photos from the Milky Way and transmit them back to Earth.
Development Engineer Nik Rupert, who worked on the project, said: "It has been designed to have many of the much larger spacecraft such as imaging, data transmission, including laser communication, attitude stability and magnetic field sensing.
"Due to the rapid advantages of microelectronics, we can shrink a spacecraft in a much smaller format than before for specialized applications such as ours."
If we used traditional chemical rockets, it would take 100,000 years to reach the closest star system, called Alpha Centauri.
Earth based lasers can propel the lightweight force up to 20% of the speed of light and cut the time it reaches down to Centauri down to 20 years.
The researchers are planning a suborbital flight next year for the wafercraft.
However, the laser systems that would propel the craft by space at high speeds still don't exist so the scientists have a lot of work to do between now and then.
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Do you think this tiny spacecraft is a cool invention? Let us know in the comments …
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