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Biomarkers_3 NASA has committed $3 billion for a new space telescope powerful enough to discover planets like Earth and even signs of alien life. The New Worlds Observer will be able to identify planetary features like oceans, continents, polar caps and cloud banks and even detect biomarkers (image) like methane, oxygen and water if they exist.

Its "eye" to the cosmos will be a four-meter-wide mirror that will collect nearly three times as much light as the 2.4-meter mirror on the Hubble space telescope.

The NWO will feature a 50-yard wide, daisy-shaped plastic "sunshade" with petals made from black plastic like that used for rubbish bags. It will block the brilliant light from the distant stars, shielding their overpowering glare and allowing the telescope to observe any planets in orbit around them and zero in on Earth-like planets in other solar systems.

The thin plastic "starshade" would allow a telescope trailing thousands of miles behind it to image light from distant planets skimming by the giant petals without being swamped by light from the parent stars. Researchers could then identify planetary features like oceans, continents, polar caps and cloud banks and even detect biomarkers like methane, oxygen and water if they exist.

"We think this is a compelling concept, particularly because it can be built today with existing technology," said Webster Cash director of University of Colorado-Boulder's Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy. "We will be able to study Earth-like planets tens of trillions of miles away and chemically analyze their atmospheres for signs of life."

Scientists would launch the telescope and starshade together into an orbit roughly 1 million miles from Earth, then remotely unfurl the starshade and use small thrusters to move it into lines of sight of nearby stars thought to harbor planets, said Cash. The thrusters would be intermittently turned on to hold the starshade steady during the observations of the planets, which would appear as bright specks.

"Think of an outfielder holding up one hand to block out the sunlight as he tracks a fly ball," said Cash, . "We would use the starshade as a giant hand to suppress the light emanating from a central star by a factor of about 10 billion."

Last week, Nasa scientists revealed that as many as 60 per cent of nearby stars like the Sun could have terrestrial-type planets. And an international team used a technique called OGLE to discover a new solar system that they say most resembles our own.

The telescope and its 50-yard-wide starshade would launch into an orbit roughly 1 million miles from Earth. The parasol would then unfurl and be steered by thrusters into the lines of sight of nearby stars which are thought likely to have planets.

Professor Cash said: "This observatory can be built today with existing technology." He believes he could have the telescope ready for launch in 2017.

Posted by Casey Kazan.

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Source:

http://www.colorado.edu/news/r/2506ae93a5e8c8e87c5ab5bb9f45c5a9.html
http://www.astrobio.net/news/article2015.

Comments

Maybe, we could stop wasting money on project like this, and spend it on more important issues?

We have already discovered other life forms, countless of documents explain they came and landed, and were shot at, and downed and retrieved...

Why do we need to divert billions of dollars from important projects, to create more useless technology? I'll tell you why, so corporation can keep the money rolling, and so we have to keep paying. And the geopolitical imbalance prevails, and we stay sheep and they stay elites...
The poor stays poor and the rich stays rich. And we keep burning fossil fuel, when we should have been floating above the ground with pollution free vehicles, since the 1950s...

NWO huh? That acronym's a little ominous isn't it? NASA's PR department must be asleep on the job.

What an amazing idea - to stay at the fuzzy image of another world with oceans and continents and perhaps even clouds! And what if it did discover O2, methane or another bio marker? How would this world be changed to have proof - visual proof at that (best kind for a visual-oriented primate) - that there is other life in the universe? Well worth $3bill. Maybe Bill Gates or another billionaire could be convinced to pay up some! :-)

Interesting project !! It would be great if the satellite could search for signatures of intelligent life - power grid usage, thermal output, even things like lights, but that would be more expensive, & perhaps our technology isn't that advanced yet. The fact that we can discover extra - solar planets should be enough for now.

excuse me? not to get too personal, but it's idiot morons like you richard that really make me mad. your stupid communist idea's, boo hoo, the rich get richer, boo hoo hoo! your an idiot. you seem to have the lack of any ability whatsoever to see the big picture. your comments are beyond even commenting on besides to say this grand adventure to discover other earth like planets is what we humans do, we explore. it's idiot morons like you who would have complained and wrote letters objecting to christopher columbus wasting money to travel to the new world when we need to spend the money helping the poor here in spain or something. moron!

HAHAHAH. WHAT DORKS! :) good article by the way.....

glad to know the advancements that NASA has made in recent years.

What if it did discover O2, methane or another bio marker? How would this world be changed to have proof - visual proof at that - that there is other life in the universe? Well worth $3bill. Maybe Bill Gates or another billionaire could be convinced to pay up some!

Sometime in the near future, however, astronomers will probably find one that's just right - a planet with a solid surface that's the right distance for a temperature that allows liquid water -- an essential ingredient in the recipe for life.

"What we studied in this paper was how that blue color changes in time: oceans are bluer than continents, which appear red or orange because land is most reflective at red and near-infrared wavelengths of light. Oceans only reflect much at blue (short) wavelengths," said Cowan.

This is exciting news. I hope the NWO telescope get our youth generation to use their imagination.

Wow... that one could be a great tattoo design. It's like being in the poison well.

hi all, how are you :)
good site and useful...

Yeah, can't wait till that day.
Very good post

It is really amazing to know that NASA is making a breakthrough again on new inventions. This would greatly benefit mankind.

NASA is constantly taking a breakthrough again in science. I am very grateful for them since they are mankind's greatest asset representing earth.
Merry Christmas!
Matty here.

Hehehe well, NASA is doing well. Lets see if how that telescope works. Nice comments in this post by the way.

We all are aware of the fact that NASA turns many impossible things possible so lets hope for the best with the telescope also

Cool post. It would be great if the satellite could search for signatures of intelligent life - power grid usage, thermal output, even things like lights, but that would be more expensive, & perhaps our technology isn't that advanced yet. The fact that we can discover extra - solar planets should be enough for now. Best regards

How would this world be changed to have proof - visual proof at that (best kind for a visual-oriented primate) - that there is other life in the universe? Well worth $3bill. Maybe Bill Gates or another billionaire could be convinced to pay up some! :-)

Interesting project !! It would be great if the satellite could search for signatures of intelligent life - power grid usage, thermal output, even things like lights, but that would be more expensive, & perhaps our technology isn't that advanced yet. The fact that we can discover extra - solar planets should be enough for now.

I am very grateful for them since they are mankind's greatest asset representing earth.

what if it did discover O2, methane or another bio marker? How would this world be changed to have proof - visual proof at that (best kind for a visual-oriented primate)

glad to know the advancements that NASA has made in recent years...

NASA's "New Worlds Observer" Will be Able to Spot Oceans,
Continents and Clouds on Small Rocky Planets

NASA has got its checkbook out to spend $3 billion for a
new space telescope powerful enough to discover planets
like Earth and even signs of alien life. The New Worlds
Observer will be able to identify planetary features like
oceans, continents, polar caps and cloud banks and even
detect biomarkers (image) like methane, oxygen and water
if they exist.

Its "eye" to the cosmos will be a four-meter-wide mirror
that will collect nearly three times as much light as the
2.4-meter mirror on the Hubble space telescope.

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