KOMPAS.com – The discovery of thousands of exoplanets triggered NASA to create special telescopes for hunters of alien planets who received additional Starshade.
The starshade is basically a giant flat field like a flowering sunflower that flies at a distance of about 40,000 kilometers in front of the telescope.
This flower shield is useful for blocking starlight, allowing the telescope to immediately capture the existence of an alien planet as small as Earth.
Using the method of blocking starlight, believers can learn more about the atmosphere of a planet and find signs of life in outer space.
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Later, the telescope with a primary mirror of 2.4 meters in diameter called the Wide Field Survey Telescope (WFIRST) will be immersed in this Starshade. This is what will do the alias light blocking method coronagraph.
"If Starshade is reduced, the telescope will be sized like a pencil and will be part of the" flower shield "at a distance of 100 kilometers," he said. said Michael Bottom, a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) technician. Living Science, Tuesday (06/18/2019).
"Try to imagine the two objects floating in space, they are moving away because of gravity and other forces, but we have to ensure that they remain parallel to the displacement by no more than 2 millimeters," added Bottom.
If the flower shield and telescope are not in the correct position, starlight will invade and block the telescope's "sight" in search of alien planets.
To find out if there is a change or not, Bottom and the team have installed a camera that can recognize when the light-dark patterns appear.
Bottom designed a computer program to test if this technique would work, and the results were encouraging.
"We can feel a change of an inch," Bottom said.
Meanwhile, JPL technician Thibault Flinois and his team are looking for an algorithm from the Bottom program to determine when Starshade automatically fires its boosters to maintain harmony.
Overall, this work shows that the starshade mission is technically feasible. At least allow large shields and space telescopes to be aligned at distances up to 74,000 kilometers.
"This is a great example of how space technology is becoming more and more extraordinary on the basis of previous success," said Phil Willems, technology development activities manager for NASA Starshade, in the same statement.
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However, Starshade's mission has not been fully approved because it must complete the latest flight training conditions for this project to be worth launching into space.