Alpha Centauri, the closest star to our solar system. Organizations like 100 Year Starship believe humans could launch a starship to Alpha Centauri in as little as a century.
Wikipedia Commons

Alpha Centauri, the closest star to our solar system. Organizations like 100 Year Starship believe humans could launch a starship to Alpha Centauri in as little as a century.

One of NASA's two identical Voyager space probes, launched in 1977. The fastest unmanned space probe that we have, Voyager would take 80,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri.
Wikipedia Commons

One of NASA's two identical Voyager space probes, launched in 1977. The fastest unmanned space probe that we have, Voyager would take 80,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri. 

Designed in the 1970s, the bulbous Daedalus was the first engineering study of an unmanned starship. In this updated computer rendering, the Daedalus dwarfs Saturn V, the largest rocket launched into
Adrian Mann/Courtesy of Icarus Interstellar

Designed in the 1970s, the bulbous Daedalus was the first engineering study of an unmanned starship. In this updated computer rendering, the Daedalus dwarfs Saturn V, the largest rocket launched into space.  

The Innovative Interstellar Explorer, a 1990s engineering study for a starship using the existing technology of the day.
Ralph McNutt of Johns Hopkins University, Advanced Physics Lab/Courtesy of the Tau Zero Foundation

The Innovative Interstellar Explorer, a 1990s engineering study for a starship using the existing technology of the day.

A 1990s rendering of a starship powered by a solar sail and nuclear fission.
Alexander Szames/Courtesy of the Tau Zero Foundation

A 1990s rendering of a starship powered by a solar sail and nuclear fission. 

A conceptual rendering of a starship powered by beam sails. Beam sails would propel a starship using microwaves beams and could be propelled at high speeds.
Rick Sternbach /Courtesy Starship Century

A conceptual rendering of a starship powered by beam sails. Beam sails would propel a starship using microwaves beams and could be propelled at high speeds. 

How to Fly to Alpha Centauri

It’s a staple of sci-fi, but the realities of interstellar travel are grim: it would take tens of thousands of years to get to our nearest neighbor in the galaxy using current technology. But ...