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NASA's Plan To Block Light From Distant Stars To Find 'Earth 2.0'

Unknown Lamer posted about 7 months ago | from the starshader-glides-in-front-of-a-star dept.

Space 92

Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Over the last five years, NASA's Kepler Space Telescope has found dozens of potentially habitable planets. The only problem is that we can't actually see them, because the glare from those planets' stars makes it impossible to image them directly. A new, audacious plan to completely block out the light from those stars, however, could change all of that. The plan calls for a satellite to be sent out several tens of thousands of miles from Earth. The satellite will unfold a huge, flower-shaped metal shade that will literally block the light of some far-out star to the point where a space telescope, which will directly communicate with Starshade, will be able to image whatever planets are orbiting it directly. It's called Starshade, and, given the name, it works exactly how you might expect it to. If you look directly at the sun, you're not going to be able to see anything in the sky around it. Hold up something between your eyes and the sun to block it, however, and you'll be able to see much better."

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Mr. Burns thought of it first. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043177)

Yet one more aspect of our lives that the government wants to control!

Re:Mr. Burns thought of it first. (2)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 7 months ago | (#47043215)

SIMPSONS DID IT!

I like sex. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043395)

nt

- Ethanol-fueled

Re:I like sex. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043471)

APK is an inhuman piece of garbage. The only thing we know is that he likes to rape children and needs to be locked up. I encourage everyone to report that sick fuck to the police and get him removed from society until he stops destroying innocent lives. His name is Alexander Peter Kowalski and he lives at 903 East Division St., Syracuse, NY 13208 (he was born 01/31/1965; his mother is Jan Kowalski, born 12/03/1933. I encourage everyone to call his neighbors and warn them that he may have raped and\or murdered their children and uses HOSTS files to evade police detection when he looks at child porn. If anyone lives in his area, I suggest printing out some fliers and stapling them around his neighborhood with a large "PAEDO WARNING!" on the top.

Re:Mr. Burns thought of it first. (2)

billstewart (78916) | about 7 months ago | (#47043307)

I did misread it as "NSA's Plan" rather than "NASA's Plan" the first time.

Re:Mr. Burns thought of it first. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043489)

I did misread it as "NSA's Plan" rather than "NASA's Plan" the first time.

Fascinating... tell me more of the things you miss read...

Re:Mr. Burns thought of it first. (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 7 months ago | (#47043603)

I thought the design I tattooed on your sister's ass was the Chinese symbol for 'courage'. It turned out to be the symbol for 'soup' instead.

.
My bad.

LOOK !! BEHIND !! THE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043181)

SUN !!

Aperture Science (3, Interesting)

RyanFenton (230700) | about 7 months ago | (#47043191)

We do what we must - because we can!

Neat design - always liked the kind of foil origami that goes into satellite construction. Designs like this are great, because they compete well against heavier designs to create a de-facto specialized GIANT EYE IN SPACE. They're also seem a little, ahem, short-sighted in the sense that they may not last long against various sources of degradation, but as proof of concept, this is great science!

It's always cool to see the science get done, for the people who are still alive!

Ryan Fenton

Re:Aperture Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043267)

Fomalhaut [theregister.co.uk] has dibs on the title of "GIANT EYE IN SPACE".

Re:Aperture Science (1)

VernonNemitz (581327) | about 7 months ago | (#47044073)

It occurs to me that this might be a good thing for a satellite equipped with a solar-sail, to be used for. It wouldn't have to worry about running out of fuel, maneuvering from one location to another, which the space telescope might be aimed at.

Re:Aperture Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043329)

You like origami?

http://www.industrialorigami.c... [industrialorigami.com]

Re:Aperture Science (1)

The Snowman (116231) | about 7 months ago | (#47043433)

Yeah but how effective will this be? A few tens of thousands of miles is barely 10% of the way to the moon [google.com] .

Objects whiz by at tens of thousands of miles per hour (orbital velocity) [wikipedia.org] . By the time you focus the telescope, will it and shade already be out of sync? I am no physicist, but I understand that when things move very fast it is difficult to keep them in sync (reference: I have been to the circus and watched the motorcycles in the spherical cage). With just a telescope and a target that is easy enough, but then you have a shade orbiting between the two and all three have to be lined up correctly for this to work (reference: try drawing a straight line between three points that are not colinear).

Re:Aperture Science (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043499)

With just a telescope and a target that is easy enough, but then you have a shade orbiting between the two and all three have to be lined up correctly for this to work (reference: try drawing a straight line between three points that are not colinear).

The problem you describe would be difficult if stars and their orbiting planets were sized such that they could fit on a single page of a textbook (or screen on your desktop). (Human-scale analogy: Using 10x digital zoom, try to keep a rapidly-moving object like a jet at an air show using nothing but your cell phone. The jet can fill the frame of the camera if you're lined up, but keeping the camera in line with it is almost impossible because the jet isn't that far away and it's moving very quickly relative to the observer.)

The reality is that the stars are really really really far away, so a starshade at a mere 37000 miles doesn't have to worry about being out of line, and that the planets are really far away from the star. (Human-scale analogy: Using the same 10x digital zoom and a cell phone held close to the eye with one hand, use the thumb of your other hand to block the sun. Easy-peasy even if the sun is huge, because it's so far away that it's basically stationary relative to the camera lens and your occluding thumbshade.)

Re:Aperture Science (1)

parkinglot777 (2563877) | about 7 months ago | (#47045295)

so a starshade at a mere 37000 miles doesn't have to worry about being out of line

Actually, it is 37,000 kilometres, so that it is even better for the shade. But I am not sure about the size of the starshade because it looks quite small (on TFA)...

Re:Aperture Science (1)

yndrd1984 (730475) | about 7 months ago | (#47043701)

Objects whiz by at tens of thousands of miles per hour. By the time you focus the telescope, will it and shade already be out of sync?

The shade only has to cover the star, not aim directly at the plant. So this is more like blocking out the sun to see a baseball than tracking a baseball with a camera.

Re: Aperture Science (1)

Chuckstar (799005) | about 7 months ago | (#47043735)

You are correct that there is not an orbital alignment that would passively keep the telescope and shade in alignment with a star. They plan to put the system in a solar orbit (so that the speed at which alignment shifts will be slower than if it were in Earth orbit) and also they will have to actively guide the telescope using ion thrusters in order to maintain the correct alignment during an observation. Because of this, observation windows will be relatively short. This requirement for active guidance during observation is one of the technology risks identified in one of the links above.

Re:Aperture Science (2)

vikingpower (768921) | about 7 months ago | (#47044543)

Not only great science. Great and sound engineering, also. The document behind the second link [nasa.gov] has visibly been written by good engineers, who understand their trade. Remember the old tongue-in-cheekish adagium: "without engineering, science would be only philosophy"....

Re:Aperture Science (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about 7 months ago | (#47046425)

Great and sound engineering, also.

Nonsense! They just need to run their telescopes during the day when the stars aren't visible!

I agree. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043229)

http://www.pensu.com

I am more concerned about.... (0)

thieh (3654731) | about 7 months ago | (#47043285)

The existence of some idiot that will complain about the lack of stars in the night sky once this is deployed

Re:I am more concerned about.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043753)

the existence of the idiot, is assured. what you need to worry about is if he has enough money or charisma to start a lobby group

Promoting blindness... (1)

Edis Krad (1003934) | about 7 months ago | (#47043313)

If you look directly at the sun, you're not going to be able to see anything in the sky around it

If you look directly at the sun, you're not going to be able to see much of anything for quite a while

Re:Promoting blindness... (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 7 months ago | (#47043469)

"When I was a little kid, my mother told me not to stare into the sun. So once when I was six, I did. The doctors didn't know if my eyes would ever heal. I was terrified, alone in that darkness. Slowly, daylight crept in through the bandages, and I could see, but something else had changed inside of me"

-Maximillian Cohen

Resolution? (1)

luckymutt (996573) | about 7 months ago | (#47043315)

It's a good solution, but how good of a resolution will we get out of it? Will we only see something along the lines of the "pale blue dot" image that Voyager took of the Earth?
Is there anything really to be gained or learned about imaging a distant planet in this way? Could we can get finer information about its composition?

Re:Resolution? (1)

dierdorf (37660) | about 7 months ago | (#47043369)

Even the pale blue dot would be plenty big enough to show that the planet in question (a) has water, and (b) has an oxygen atmosphere. Those two features, as far as we know, guarantee life is present.
Take a long exposure of the night side of our blue dot and we could almost certainly detect the lights of civilization.

Re:Resolution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043653)

Take a long exposure of the night side of our blue dot and we could almost certainly detect the lights of civilization.

Not from light years away. The problem is, in order to get a view of the night side and only the night side, you have to have the planet directly in front of the star. At that point, the thing is behind the starshade, and even if it isn't, you're staring directly into the star and can't image the planet. If the planet isn't directly in front of the star, you will see pretty much nothing but reflected starlight (at these distances you can't resolve the crescent in any meaningful way).

Re:Resolution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043815)

If you had a system lined up to be head on, such that it would pass in front of the star, you would see a pretty dramatic shift the brightness as it went around in the parts of the orbit we could see, even if you can't see the full on night and day sides due to the star being in the way. It would be easy enough to fit a simple relation to this. The more likely problem is that the difference between human-like alien illuminated night and no illumination would be really small compared to the illumination from the star. The Earth reflects away nearly 10000 times as much light on the day side as all of the electrical power usage across the globe, so even if our entire electrical production was put into making light at night, it would be horribly small signal. The only possible hope might be very careful spectroscopy that picks up on lines at night that stand out a bit more from the noise.

Re:Resolution? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043665)

In principle you will be limited to the planet being a single dot for the near term. If you had an Earth sized planet a mere 10 light years away, you would need a focusing lens or mirror ~10 kilometers in size (or some array of mirrors spread out that far doing interferometry, which is difficult in the visible bands) just to start resolving it as more than one pixel. Although there are a lot of tricks that you can do even if all you get is one pixel, as you can use that the illumination changes as the planet moves around the star, rotates, gets obscured by a moon, etc. to make inferences about what exactly that one pixel is smudging together.

Re:Resolution? (1)

snooo53 (663796) | about 7 months ago | (#47046689)

Sure, there's a lot of science one can do even with a handful of pixels. The spectra tells us the atmospheric composition and the way the pixels change over time can tell us the size, orbit, rotations, perhaps even weather patterns or if the planet has any moons and the composition and size of those.

mo3 3own (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043337)

posts. Therefore downWard spiral. In disGust, or been

i just stare at the sun until my eyes adjust to it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043341)

JUST KIDDING KIDS DO NOT DO THIS.

staring at the sun can cause permanent damage to your retina and blindness.

Re:i just stare at the sun until my eyes adjust to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47044635)

No shit Sherlock.

Re:i just stare at the sun until my eyes adjust to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47044641)

staring at the sun can cause permanent damage to your retina and blindness.

I keep hearing this, but how long does it actually take?

I've stared at the sun for several minutes, several times, when I was a kid. There's a hell of an after-image for about ten minutes (which was why we did it), but that's it.

Re:i just stare at the sun until my eyes adjust to (1)

BattleApple (956701) | about 7 months ago | (#47050935)

Wonderful. When people told me not to stare at the sun because it would cause permanent damage, I thought they were talking about damage to the sun

Plus less global warming. (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 7 months ago | (#47043381)

The satellite will block the liught coming from the star impinging on the Earth thus reduce the heating of the Earth by 0.00001 %.

Re: Plus less global warming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47044231)

So ten million of these will give us burns like doom? Half or even a quarter or less than that will do a lot of damage. Muah ha haaa

Re: Plus less global warming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47044235)

But the greenhouse gasses from all those launches will balance the cooling/warming affects

Re:Plus less global warming. (1)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 7 months ago | (#47047475)

0.00001% is a teensy weensy bit off.

The brightest star in the sky is Sirius. It's 8.6 light years away (or 545,000x the distance of the Sun), and 25x the luminosity of the Sun.

Through the wonders of the inverse square, if the amount of radiation we get from the Sun is 1, then the relative amount of radiation we get from Sirius is 25/(545,000^2). So, Sirius (the brightest star in the sky) generates about 0.00000001% of the heating of the sun.

Wrong focus (1, Interesting)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 7 months ago | (#47043385)

As interesting as this stuff is, we really need to be focusing on better propulsion methods. Lets figure out how to visit the planets we KNOW exist here in our solar system, and then get excited about planets in others. Lets get an orbital shipyard in place and start hauling in asteroids for materials. Maybe establish a presence on the moon; something like a radio telescope on the far side. Trying so hard to detect these "earth-like" planets in other systems just seems like the scientific equivalent of playing a lottery that has an uncertain payout. I guess the ultimate "prize" would be something like finding an earth 2.0, and directing our communications to it in hopes of maybe discovering some technological-advancing information, ala Contact. Just seems ironic considering all the mathematicians and scientists and such that laugh at the unwashed masses who play the actual lottery, and call it an idiot tax.

Re:Wrong focus (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 7 months ago | (#47043457)

Yup. It is a lottery. Just like when the telescope and microscope were invented.

Re:Wrong focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47044085)

The telescope and microscope have real world purposes.

The purpose of establishing if there is an equivalent Earth in a distant system has relatively speaking, fuck all function to use in the here, now, and likely distant future.

The OP is correct that it does seem to be practically speaking, not entirely with merit. It is very much in the ballpark of diminishing returns.

I believe the science of imaging should continue to be contributed to, of course.

Re:Wrong focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47044251)

What? What function did looking at Jupiter with the first telescopes have?

Re:Wrong focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47044645)

Measuring the speed of light using Jupiter's galilean satellites as a clock.

Re:Wrong focus (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 7 months ago | (#47043507)

In terms of interstellar planetary observations we're not even at the peering through hand-ground lenses in a medieval observatory stage yet, we're still trying to squint-count the pleiades on a windblown steppe as a test of eyesight. These are part of many tiny progressive advances that will ultimately lead to things like a constellation of observation satellites in a globe around the sun using its gravitational field to magnify distant worlds to an incredible extent. Taken individually it mightn't look like much but it all adds up over time.

Re:Wrong focus (2)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 7 months ago | (#47043513)

Better propulsion methods? Considering we've been devising all sorts of propulsion methods for the last 50 years, what exactly should we expect from "propulsion"?

Frankly, I think "propulsion" is a dead end, we need to start figuring out physics to the point where we can either teleport physical items long distances, create wormholes or warp space. Propulsion will not get us out of this solar system and propulsion will not make travel within the solar system economically viable. We need to be able to get to Mars within hours or days not months if we hope to colonize it beyond token outposts akin to what we have in Antarctica. Hell, at the rate our space technology is going, the Antarctic Ice Sheets will have melted and made Antarctica habitable before we have Orbital Shipyards, asteroid mining or Mars colonization going on.

Re:Wrong focus (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 7 months ago | (#47045147)

For those things to happen we need to lower launch costs dramatically and come up with better closed loop systems or ways to use resources already in space or other worlds, i.e. making colonies more or less elf-sufficient, at least for basic necessities (air, food & water, fuel & power). We'll still need this even if we can reduce the trip to mere days, and once we have this, a trip time of several months would be inconvenient but not a blocker.

Re:Wrong focus (1)

confused one (671304) | about 7 months ago | (#47043639)

We have better propulsion. Most of it requires a nuclear reactor being launched into orbit so it can be attached to the ship to power said engines. Good luck with that.

Looking at other planetary systems teaches us something about our own. If we find "earth-like" planets, that helps us understand what is required to create an Earth, how stable an Earth is, where we should look for them, and what an Earth (besides our sample of 1) looks like. It's invaluable information even if we can't get there.

Re:Wrong focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043773)

i'd be content with finding other intelligent life and finding a way to communicate with them even if we can't go visit for the foreseeable future

Re:Wrong focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043985)

I was just thinking that. So we spot a planet just like ours only 6000 ly away.

And then what?

Re:Wrong focus (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 7 months ago | (#47044041)

I was just thinking that. So we spot a planet just like ours only 6000 ly away. And then what?

Imagine if it has life.

Re:Wrong focus (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 7 months ago | (#47044039)

Realistically anything short of warp-gate research is going to leave us doomed. Mars and the Moon don't give us much.

Re:Wrong focus (1)

idji (984038) | about 7 months ago | (#47044283)

NASA is focusing on research and new tech as it should and Starshade is an excellent example.
NASA shouldn't do an orbital shipyard and asteroid hauling - that is engineering - let SpaceX and Google do that in private enterprise.

Re:Wrong focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47044517)

u tarded bro? this isn't a dang sci-fi flick -> we're not _getting_ any significantly improved propulsion or life support systems, _ever_. these tin toys are the best we're going to get - so let's enjoy them while we still can,.

Re:Wrong focus (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 7 months ago | (#47046969)

Just seems ironic considering all the mathematicians and scientists and such that laugh at the unwashed masses who play the actual lottery, and call it an idiot tax.

That's because so many people (you included, apparently) don't realize it's a negative-sum game. People buy lottery tickets, the lottery takes a piece of the pool for operating costs, profit and/or charity and return the remaining as prizes and unlike for example poker there's nothing you can do to improve your odds. Particularly if you play for small sums of money (say less than a month's salary) it is extremely unlikely you'll be cash positive even if you occasionally win. I guess there's the dream of winning the big prize, but it's more about hope and less about reality, statistics or rationality. Research and development on the other hand can be a positive-sum game like turning silicon into a CPU, of course many projects fail but many also give a huge pay-off which didn't come from the other people playing.

too complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043473)

there's no way it would unfold properly by the time it got there

remember the Space Tether? http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/Education/wtether.html
it failed every time, but now they know why

this space flower won't get a 3rd chance to do it right

just can't see why it's a good idea.

Re:too complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043825)

Which is why they scrapped the James Webb telescope which involves unfolding both the primary mirror and a sunshade? And why the IKAROS failed to unfold properly?

Complexity for Complexity's Sake? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043535)

Wouldn't it be far easier, cheaper and more reliable to mount a moveable coronograph directly in front of the telescope aperture?

Re:Complexity for Complexity's Sake? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043763)

It would be easier and cheaper, but you get what you pay for. The closer and smaller the coronograph is to the telescope, the more you sacrifice in resolving ability, because either you block out too large of an area, or you get too much diffracted and stray light issues.

In other words, (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 7 months ago | (#47043537)

an artificial stellar eclipse

It'll never get made. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043607)

It'll never get made. And I say that to deafening silence, knowing you know that I'm right. NASA just doesn't have the funds, support, leadership or vision to make something like this happen any time soon.

So saw-wee!

Re:It'll never get made. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043863)

Because it is not like finding Earth like exoplanets is one of the current top priorities of NASA and they just canceled every related project like Kepler spacecraft.

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043719)

Seems legit...only issue I'd see is having to change the distance from the shield to the telescope for stars that have drastically different sizes/distances from us. If it's too close then you'll just block the entire solar system and if it's too far it will only partially cover the stars diameter. This distance or (or diameter of the shield even) would need to be "easily" and accurately adjustable which would require either fuel or a very long tow cable of some sort. I think something like this would benefit greatly from ion or solar wind propulsion. Virtually no fuel required and it doesn't need to move very far or fast...relatively speaking. Maybe adjusting the size of the shield itself would be a lot more efficient....going off the video alone it doesn't look very adjustable after deployment just because of the way it is folding.

Can they make a 3D shade? (3, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | about 7 months ago | (#47043725)

What I mean is, instead of a shade that looks like a "flower" with "petals" can they make something that looks more like a (very) corrugated sphere?

That way if the spacecraft maneuvers to a new position relative to it, it won't have have to rotate (making it much less complex with no active mechanisms required). Also, multiple telescopes could simultaneously use it from different angles.

It could be a simple inflating balloon (perhaps with a fast setting foam) or something more complex like a "hoberman sphere"(?).

If they put it in geo- sync orbit and made it the appropriate size could multiple ground telescopes use it? With good adaptive optics of course, perhaps firing a laser at it (using it as a reference target) at a different wavelength of course for atmospheric aberration correction.

Re: Can they make a 3D shade? (2)

Chuckstar (799005) | about 7 months ago | (#47043767)

Gods thinking. But two potential problems that spring to mind:

The petal profile seems to matter, although I admit to not knowing why. You'd have to have your sphere replicate that outline from the various appropriate angles.

Controlling reflection of stray light back into the telescope is already identified as a potential technology problem. A sphere may make that even more of an issue.

Re: Can they make a 3D shade? (1)

Chuckstar (799005) | about 7 months ago | (#47043771)

Autocorrect made it "Gods" instead of "Good", and I didn't notice before posting.

Re: Can they make a 3D shade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47047061)

I was wondering... I didnt think God worked at NASA. But then again, with the economy the way it is maybe God needs a second job now too.

Re: Can they make a 3D shade? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47043851)

The petals are to deal with diffraction issues. If you had just a circle, the diffraction pattern is such that you get a small bright spot [wikipedia.org] in the center of the area behind the circular obstruction, which would basically counteract what the obscurer is trying to do. This would make something like a sphere rather difficult since you need to get the shape right, otherwise diffraction will still dump a lot of the star's light on the center of the telescope.

3D "Prickly Pear" instead of 2D "flower"? (0)

wisebabo (638845) | about 7 months ago | (#47044169)

That's what I meant in my original post by having a (very) corrugated sphere. But maybe a "prickly pear" or "cactus" or "sea urchin" shape would be better.

Anyway, the diffraction questions are way beyond my (non-existent) knowledge of optics. Anyone care to chime in? How about using a coating of the new "magic" meta-materials? (Not that I have any idea of that could solve anything).

Just trying to think outside the box.

Re:3D "Prickly Pear" instead of 2D "flower"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47053175)

I don't think you can make a shape that looks the same from every direction other than a sphere. You can revolve the design they have now to get something that looks the same if you only go in a circle, essentially turning the occluder on one axis, but would still need it to move to rotate on the other axis. The specifics of the shape are enough you wouldn't want to mess with it using a spike ball and sometimes getting in between views not perfectly aligned to one spike. Might still work with multiple telescopes if they were all in a circle around it, but it would involve a lot a movement to keep them all lined up with something interesting, and add a lot to the expense. Researchers seem to prefer not to make too many copies of such things, and instead use money toward building an improved one down the line.

Earth 2.0? (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about 7 months ago | (#47043755)

Dammit, Earth 1.0 is obsolete already. Now I know I am getting old.

Re:Earth 2.0? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47044043)

Earth 2 was a bad series anyway.

Re:Earth 2.0? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47046301)

Earth 1.0 has been deprecated and is no longer in use. Please use Earth 2.0 instead

Proven Technology (1)

tquasar (1405457) | about 7 months ago | (#47043813)

Two spacecraft orbit the Sun in the same path as the Earth, one leading and one following. Each uses a disc to block direct light but capture incredible images of solar events and weather. Stereo A and B. Audacious? No. Science? Si, mon. From NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pa... [nasa.gov]

Scattering ? (1)

dargaud (518470) | about 7 months ago | (#47044037)

I remember from my long ago courses of optics that you can't simply block the light from a pinpoint source: it creates diffusion [wikipedia.org] around the blocking object. How do they work around this ?

Re:Scattering ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47044623)

How do they work around this ?

By reading the fucking article? http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0712/0712.1105.pdf [arxiv.org]

Re:Scattering ? (1)

Cito (1725214) | about 7 months ago | (#47047331)

Like they do with all NASA images...

Photoshop it!

Re:Scattering ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47051673)

Scattering and diffusion are a different process for when you are going through a material that causes light to get knocked into random directions. The vacuum in near by space is effectively empty as far as visible light observation. The effect you are looking for is diffraction, which causes light to bend around edges of things, and the whole point of the flower shaped design is that the pedals limit that diffraction from bending a bunch of light to the center of the shadow where the telescope would be.

Use the telescope at night? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47044171)

Why don't they just use the telescope at night time, then they wont have to worry about the sun?

frist Stop.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47044179)

Won't someone please think of the aliens? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 7 months ago | (#47044271)

NASA's Plan To Block Light From Distant Stars To Find 'Earth 2.0'

Won't the aliens get cold? Seems a bit harsh.

Alternative post: it got cancelled years ago, and they need to get over it.

"f you look directly at the sun".... (1)

iainr (43602) | about 7 months ago | (#47044427)

You will damage your eyesight...don't do, it opticians make enough as it is.

Use it to fight global warming ? (1)

nai (465491) | about 7 months ago | (#47044521)

If we have the technology to build this kind of giant umbrella, can't we put one somewhere between earth and the sun to provide shadow over the poles and prevent global warming ?

Re:Use it to fight global warming ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47046019)

a shade the size of a tent could block the star in question enough for the telescope to do it's job,. To block the sun at any appreciable level would require a shad vastly larger. so large that just maintaining it would be more expensive then cutting coal power off completely.

Mutliscope (1)

RavenousRhesus (2683045) | about 7 months ago | (#47045495)

Why not make the shade a sphere (or at least sphere-ish)? Then you could have multiple telescopes use it to image different stars simultaneously, then have the telescopes reposition. This way you could also scale it up in the future by adding more telescopes if it proves to be a fruitful enough project.

Black marker? (1)

rahulov (1871994) | about 7 months ago | (#47045859)

Why not just using black marker on telescope lense?

Occulting telescope (1)

stoploss (2842505) | about 7 months ago | (#47046681)

The technical term for this type of telescope is "occulting".

Naturally, this term would freak people out, so they circumlocute to avoid using it.

Note that this is the backup plan. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47047137)

The original idea was to actually drop a probe into the star to stop nuclear fusion and turn it off completely, but before the second round of funding it was realized that there would be no light left for the planet to be visible, so they went for the less spectacular backup plan.

DONT look at the sun! Ever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47050711)

Please tell readers NOT to look at the sun. Permanent eye damage (usually blindness) will result.

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