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I myself was awed by this news when I first saw it; I think it has tremendous potential, though I think it would also be difficult; imagine how fine the guidance would have to be to precisely control the position of two components tens of thousands of miles apart. This is work for the next generation, I think. If TPF gets off the ground, a system like this will be a sure runner-up.
>two components tens of thousands of miles apart.<br /><br />yeh. Suddenly I'm much more interested in all the formation flying tech demonstrator missions.<br /><br />With a 10m aperature, the device would be collecting lots of photons, even from something as dim as a planet or the moon of a gas giant. So the exposure rates are very likely manageable.<br /><br />In fact, that gives me a clue how you could manage it. The pinhole component would be big and dumb, able to hold its shape and orientation and that's about it. Laser rangers on the imaging/objective component would give that craft everything it needed to keep its place.
Interesting indeed. This sounds like something that might quickly be tried with the Hubble. But I guess the details for nailing down the exact orbital position of a big solar sail in orbit might take a while to iron out... By then the Hubble could be a flare over the Pacific...<br /><br /><br />
Now <i>that</i> is very exciting idea!<br /><br /><font color="yellow">Such a system could be used to map planetary systems around other stars, detect planets as small as Earth's moon and search for "biomarkers" such as methane, water, oxygen and ozone. Known as the New Worlds Imager, the system also could map planet rotation rates, detect the presence of weather and even confirm the existence of liquid oceans on distant planets, he said.<br /><br />"In its most advanced form, the New Worlds Imager would be able to capture actual pictures of planets as far away as 100 light-years, showing oceans, continents, polar caps and cloud banks," said Cash. If extra-terrestrial rainforests exist, he said, they might be distinguishable from deserts.</font><br /><br />My little mind is well and truly blown at the thought of potentially imaging extra-solar planets, let alone the possibility of alien life! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="2" color="#339966"> I wish I could remember<br /> But my selective memory<br /> Won't let me</font><font size="2" color="#99cc00"> </font><font size="3" color="#339966"><font size="2">- </font></font><font size="1" color="#339966">Mark Oliver Everett</font></p><p> </p> </div>
Absolutely brilliant!!!<br /><br />Think of the implications of this if proven accurate. I would say this could quickly blossom into a multi-national mega-project. Everyone would want to fund it. How many stars are there within 100 light years?<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
This is absolutely fantastic, there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. One other very good aspect..<br /><br /><font color="yellow">In 1999, Cash headed a winning NIAC proposal for a new, powerful x-ray telescope technology that will allow astronomers to peer into the mouths of black holes. That telescope package is now under development by NASA as the multi-million dollar MAXIM mission and is slated for launch next decade.</font><br /><br />This guy has proven that he can get the job done and isn't some woowoo quack. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> <br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="width:271px;background-color:#FFF;border:1pxsolid#999"><tr><td colspan="2"><div style="height:35px"><img src="http://banners.wunderground.com/weathersticker/htmlSticker1/language/www/US/MT/Three_Forks.gif" alt="" height="35" width="271" style="border:0px" /></div>
Cool idea. But putting something the size of a football field up there is just asking for being smacked around by space-garbage from all the stuff that's been launched since 1957. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
as long as the thin material it is made up of can last a while in space, i think THIS IDEA IS AWESOME!!!<br /><br />it would be so cool to have a decent picture of what's out there in what seems to the naked eye to be "empty" space<br /><br />great post
<font color="yellow">space-garbage<br /><br />a nice quiet part of the outer solar system</font><br /><br />Other missions which require really stable platforms (Chandra, for example) spend oodles of time in really distant, "quiet" places. These two halves, at greater distances from each other than our own planet's diameter, would certainly need to be placed someplace stable with as few forces on them as possible. The leading and trailing LaGrange points in Lunar orbit come to mind. We don't have any probes there (that I know of).<br /><br />Otherwise, a heliocentric trailing orbit seems reasonable.<br /><br />Getting a mission out that far can be expensive.<br /><br />I'm not sure the solar wind is a big factor. Gravitational tidal effects might be.<br /><br />If we were able to make it nuclear powered and dropped it between Jupiter and Saturn, we'd probably be able to point it to pretty much any part of the sky, rather than only at targets that were in the ecliptic.
Every time someone invents a TPF mission or similar, I write them and ask if they'd be able to image moons of a gas giant. After ten years, someone has an idea how to do just that.<br /><br />I keep reminding the astrobiologists that rocky, terran type worlds are more likely to be like Venus or Mars. They are familiar enough with the rare earth principle that they get that.<br /><br />Then I ask them to consider what would happen to a gas giant's moons, if it orbited in the liquid water temp zone. Bing! Suddenly they all realize if Jupiter were inside the orbit of Mars, there'd be three water worlds there. No rare earth foodling required.<br /><br />So I'm really, really jazzed that these clever guys came up with a way that might be able to image those watery moons orbiting a gas giant.
You have to hand to these guys don’t you. I had read so many pieces saying that we may never be able to see anything other than gas giants around distant stars – and it will take many, many years before we do. One proposal I had read was for an array of giant telescopes in one of Jupiter’s lagrange points. <br /><br />Then presto up jumps someone with a really, simple achievable idea that is within our current technological capability. Such leaps of human ingenuity are inspiring. <br /><br />This is one of the best posts I have read in ages. Thanks bobvanx, keep us updated on this one!!!<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
I thought I would 'bump' this one with an updated link (10 March 2005) from NASA. <br /><br />http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/newworlds/new_worlds_imager.html<br />The latest:<br /><i> After four months of studying the problems, Dr. Cash is confident NWI is obtainable. A single starshade-collector pair can almost be built with current technology. With a modest improvement in formation flying techniques, the complete New Worlds Imager is easily within reach. "We’re finishing up the basic concept to prove we can do it," he says. </i><br /><br />I think this is a very interesting project and am keen to hear any news anyone comes across! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
<br />is the pinhole camera then better than larger Hubble?<br />or an array of say three 30m. mirror scopes working synergistically separated by a million miles or so?<br /><br />I bring this from the space business and tech forum thread on building a giant mirror telescope in orbit, as oppsed to building one on the not yet proven moon base.<br /><br />could this pinhole project be assembled at the ISS and later moved? what we need is a small navigation craft about the size of the shuttle payload which would move things from the ISS<br />to Lunar L:aGrange and other places and back and forth. Another shuttle in other words.<br />I just think it's better to assemble large things at the ISS since we are already doing outdoor<br />work up there. THe constructs could then be tested, adjusted and proven and then slowly<br />moved to better places in space.<br /><br /><br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>