Earlier today, Stephen Hawking and Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner announced a thrilling plan to deploy tiny "nanocrafts" to the second-closest star in search of intelligent life. And in the first post-announcement interview with ABC News, Hawking talks about how the development of interstellar spacecraft will improve life for humans. On "World News Tonight", David Muir spoke with Hawking and Milner at One World Observatory, just after their press conference. Although Hawking pointed out that the chance of finding life in the nearest solar system was "unlikely", it was more about developing the technology to get us there. "The rapid progress of space exploration has improved people's lives in the past," he said. "So it would not be surprising if it brought benefits."
Once launched, the $US100 million ($130 million) initiative, named Breakthrough Starshot, could reach Alpha Centauri in 20 years, but it's critical that the groundwork starts now, said Milner: "If we're not going to achieve it in our lifetime, then we need to pass the baton to the next generation."
Because this is Hawking, he tempers all of these intellectual thoughts with his signature zingers, including a dig at the Kardashians.
Watch the whole thing at ABC News.