The yearly academic conference, Breakthrough Discuss, is dedicated to new and innovative ideas for research into advanced space travel and the existence of life in the cosmos. It is a part of Yuri Milner’s Breakthrough Initiatives.
In 2015, Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking established the Breakthrough Initiatives as a collection of space research projects in the field of “life in the universe”. As a result of the Breakthrough Discuss inaugural conference in 2016, scientists have been provided with a platform where they interact and share ideas on different topics pertaining to this field. The most recent conference was a two-day session held on June 22 and 23, 2022. Its theme was the development of low-cost, innovative space exploration ideas.
The founder of the Breakthrough Initiatives, Yuri Milner is a well-known physicist and technology investor working on several projects to explore space. His book, The Eureka Manifesto, emphasizes the value of continuing to learn more and exploring the cosmos as it could benefit humanity. Yuri Milner and his spouse, Julia Milner, created the Breakthrough Initiatives to foster and support scientific breakthroughs as part of their Giving Pledge.
Yuri Milner launched Breakthrough Discuss to provide an academic space where researchers in astrobiology and space travel can meet and debate new developments in their fields. One of these is low-cost space missions. Today, governments and private firms are engaged in creating specialized, highly capable technologies for space exploration. However, they require an extremely high budget. Many space vehicle innovations never reach space because of the high launch prices. This has prevented new concepts and ideas about space exploration from being launched. The traditional means of conducting science and space missions are becoming increasingly expensive.
The evolution of the life sciences has started with the development of budget-friendly satellites, high-efficiency electronic gadgets, improvements in optics and materials, and the falling cost of launches, reviving space activity. Now, startup businesses and non-profit organizations are working together for funding on ground-breaking space exploration initiatives that are less expensive.
With a focus on cutting-edge innovations and scientific endeavors, Breakthrough Discuss welcomes leading professionals in the area to collaborate and share ideas. Part of Yuri Milner’s vision for Breakthrough Discuss is that it would cross-pollinate different interdisciplinary research areas, including astronauts, planetary scientists, astronomers, astrophysicists, computer scientists, astrobiologists, biologists, chemists, and more — as speakers and attendees. The 2022 conference had three segments:
This segment’s guest speakers included Suzanne Staggs, Shirley Ho, Maura McLaughlin, Phil Mauskopf, Ritoban Basu Thakur, Andrea Gallo Rosso, and Sean Bryan, who highlighted the first session with the most up-to-date, cost-effective cosmic measuring concepts and the benefits of delving deeper into it.
Low-Mass Transit: Efficient and inexpensive methods of travel throughout the planetary system and even beyond
Slava Turyshev, Amanda Hendrix, Mahmooda Sultana, Francis Nimmo, Tom Pike, Ben Fernando, Konstantin Batygin, Penny Boston, and Sarah Gibson have discussed innovative transportation concepts like solar light sails that offer quick and inexpensive exploration with new materials and tiny devices. These missions are not highly expensive and simple to duplicate with different equipment and sites. This session highlighted how new routes will open up through cost-effective transit and the possibility of deep space missions with major scientific kickbacks to new and exciting destinations.
Cherry Ng, Steve Croft, Chenoa Tremblay, Jason Wright, James Davenport, Noemie Globus, and David Deamer have discussed new techniques for exploring alien life. Scientists from various fields, such as biology, astronomy, chemistry, and physics, are actively collaborating across disciplines in the search for intelligent life beyond Earth. This session covered the most promising advancements in the search for life, focusing on new technologies and cross-disciplinary cooperation.