To Learn The Next Earth, NASA Must Throw Shadows


HabEx has developed a 4-meter telescope connected to a coronagraph with a 52-meter-wide star shadow. (“Having a belt and all suspensions is fine,” says Bertrand Mennesson, senior NASA JPL scientist and chairman of HabEx.) More than 10-10 suppressed, the shadow of a star can match the amount of light form, focusing on ozone, oxygen, and water waves in a single image. (Luvoir’s coronagraph may need to take multiple photographs to capture all the light to learn more about the material.) the rotation of their sun.

However, the shadow of the star, which is supposed to fly differently from the telescope, brings with it problems that the coronagraph does not. The need for a special power source can reduce the use of the vessel to appear at about 100 or more before it needs to be discarded or refueled. It will also be necessary for the two functions to function smoothly and coherently.

And, of course, there is more to it than origami. Arya and others have been working on the project, making several large star-shaped shades made of blanket such as Capton polymer sheets and a carbon frame. (The “blanket” is made up of many parts of Kapton so that any holes drilled in the shadow and small meteorites do not interfere with its shade.) It is not easy. The edges of the tiny particles of the star must be sharp enough to reflect as little sunlight as possible into a telescope, and any distortion can affect the image of the exoplanet. “We are creating a clear image that needs to be curved and flown at random, and that is causing a lot of problems,” says Arya. “We are slowly approaching these challenges, and there is still a list of things that need to be done to ensure this expertise.”

Perhaps because of the complexity of the task at hand, some astronomers believe that there is a sign of coronagraph including the shadow of a star can be a very good punch. “I really see the value of integrated systems,” Mennesson says. Looking back from star to star, the coronagraph can scan several potential exoplanets, then a star shadow can provide a clear view with high bandwidth and light output of any planet – best for deep-seated detection. The HabEx and LUVOIR groups have worked together, and any future groups can move away from their members.

Star shadows can also be more effective than deep-sea services. NASA has provided funding for the Mather team to study using a revolving star shadow to detect exoplanets from Earth. ORCAS, or Orbiting Configurable Artificial Star, could be the first hybrid view of the earth, using a laser beam in the sky to help visualize the earth’s telescope, thus reducing the distortion that results from looking at the sky. The next section in this concept will see the 100-meter-long “RemoteOcculter” star near Earth orbit, where it can cast its shadow on a telescope. “A circular star is very complex, but it can be a great way to view exoplanet,” Mather wrote in an email. “Using it, we could see the Earth orbiting the nearest star in just one minute, and in one hour we could tell if there was water and air like ours.”

The idea of ​​which of these projects should go ahead is still years old. HabEx and LUVOIR’s instructions are likely to come to NASA Town Hall at an American Astronomical Society conference on January 11, and the ideas of ORCAS and RemoteOcculter are still being studied. But the James Webb Space Telescope, launched in December, will soon be displaying back-up images created with the help of its dwarf star shadow. The telescope will be in full swing by 2022, and he is expected to become the new leader in the exoplanet search – until the most powerful casters come.


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