Scientists are preparing a mission to search for life near Earth

The new mission is named TOLIMAN, a reference to the star's ancient Arabic name. He was supported

Breakthrough Initiatives, which is also responsible for the mission, which aims to send a probe with a light sail to the star system.

The TOLIMAN mission plan is to search for planets in the habitable zone around two sun-like stars in the system, Alpha Centauri A and B, which are located four light years from Earth.

Artist's impression of a hypothetical planet orbiting the star Alpha Centauri B. Credit: ESO

Alpha Centauri is "painfully close tohome,” explained mission leader Professor Peter Tuthill of the University of Sydney, who also worked on the development of the NIRISS masking aperture interferometry mode for the James Webb telescope.

Astronomers have discovered thousands of exoplanets outside our solar system, but most of them are thousands of light-years away and out of our reach.

Peter Tuthill, Professor at the University of Sydney

As part of the TOLIMAN mission, engineers developa small, purpose-built space telescope capable of taking incredibly accurate readings. The main thing is that it fits into a capsule with a volume of only 12 liters, while maintaining thermal and mechanical stability. In the meantime, EnduroSat will develop a delivery system for a custom-made minisatellite.

Simulated view of the Centaurus binary system through the TOLIMAN telescope. Photo: University of Sydney

Modern satellite technology will allowscientists to explore "our heavenly court" and possibly lay the foundation for promising future missions spanning the interstellar voids in the Centauri system, the scientists believe.

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Cover: Alpha Centauri A and B taken by Hubble, ESA