The Von Neumann Probe (A Nano Ship to the Stars)

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A Von Neumann probe is a self-replicating machine that could one day be used to discover every side of the Milky Way in a quite small window of time. The over-all notion is to build a device out of constituents that are generously available and easily accessible out in space, like on some rocky planets or small moons. Once it discovers an appropriate target, it lands and mines the material it requires to construct even more devices, which, in turn, land on other planets and moons and construct even more. The system is very operational, and by some guesses, it would take around half a million years to send millions of probes across our galaxy, supposing each one travels at roughly 1/10th the speed of light, or 18,640 miles (30,000 km) per second (though the actual number could be closer to ten million years, which is still no time at all in the impressive order of things). Michio Kaku clarifies further:

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