Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets
Jeremy Kasdin: Aerospace engineer at Princeton University.
In the next decade, Jeremy wants us to build a space telescope that can take pictures of Earth-like planets in distant galaxies. Astronomers now believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, and up to a fifth might have an earth-like planet that can sustain life. The ‘pale blue dot’ picture of Earth is difficult to take from a long way away, because the nearby beaming star overwhelms the telescope making it impossible to see the planets. Jeremy’s colleagues are working on technology to block out the extreme light of the sun and instead focus on the planet.
One idea is similar to the concept of an eclipse – where a closer object blocks the star, reducing its interference to a ring or corona effect. This is similar to putting a hand over a spotlight so you can see more…
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