NASA could build “space flower” to discover exoplanets!
The specific probe should help telescopes in the search for life on planets far from Earth.
NASA missions that use “space flowers” to discover exoplanets may not be so far apart as to become a reality, scientists at the agency said. In these expeditions, a probe, known as Star Shadow (Starshade) and whose shape resembles petals of a flower, would be used in conjunction with a telescope.
The Star Shadow would be 40,000 kilometers above the telescope, blocking starlight, which allows the observation of exoplanets. There are still no ready-made NASA projects with the system, so in order to function, the telescope and probe must be separated by only one meter.
“Imagine two separate objects in space. They are going through gravity pulls and other forces, and beyond that distance, we are trying to keep them precisely aligned,” Michael Bottom, an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), said in a statement.
Scientists find 18 Earth-sized exoplanets Scientists find rare earth metals in gas exoplanet In the project of the system; there is a camera inside the telescope that can detect flaws in the alignment between the two devices.
A little bit of starlight tends to escape the Star Shadow, which forms a pattern of light and dark tones. This pattern, in turn, serves for the camera to recognize mismatches.
Bottom created a computer program to see if the plan would actually work on space missions – and the results were favorable. Besides, using information from the Bottom program, engineer Thibault Flinois and other scientists worked out algorithms to see what the Star Shadow could do to ensure alignment of the probe and telescope – the experiment was also considered positive.