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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

Yeah, can't wait till that day.Great job !!

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.

Even if NASA will find aliens it is impossible to visit them because the nearest star is 4.3 light years away. Even if we (or they) travelled 100,000 mph, it would take 25,000 years to cover that distance. Speed of light travel is not impossible. It's not due to technical limitations; it's just physically impossible. No amount of technology can overcome the fact that it would take an infinite amount of energy to accelerate to that speed, and no technology can overcome the fact that an infinite amount of energy would convert to an infinite amount of mass; all of this is proven by Einstein's equation E=MC^2.

Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts.

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.

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

We think this is a compelling concept, particularly because it can be built today with existing technology - well said !! Great post

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

Cool! Soon they could detect life on other planets. A giant leap if ever they could spot one.

The author has written an excellent article. You made your point and not much to discuss. It's like this universal truth that you can not argue with the truth is not universal, everything has its exception. Thanks for this information.

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

Great post, I am really enjoying
the process & journey your taking us on.

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.

I'm very grateful for them being that they are mankind's greatest asset representing world.

Thanks for the bunch of good resourceful site.I really appreciate your blog,you have done the great job.hey your blog design is very nice, clean and fresh and with updated content, make people feel peace and I always like browsing your site.

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

Really insightful post. Can't wait to read to more from you.

Nice post.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful!I’m still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post thanks.

This is a great read for me, Must concede that you are on the list of best blogger I ever saw. Thanks for posting this informative article.Fantastic post and thanks for sharing. Some factors in here I have not thought about before.

Way to go NASA. Very nice information here.

USA is very power full country and glad to know the advancements that NASA has made in recent years.

it my dream to visit NASA at-least on time..

The blog was absolutely fantastic. Lot of great information which can be helpful in some or the other way.

Very interesting post. Thanks again.. Please Keep it Up!!

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