How a Nasa Starshade could help find exoplanets
Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is developing a giant shade which could help in the search for life on planets outside our Solar System (exoplanets).
Earth-like planets orbiting a star are about 10 billion times fainter than a star making it very difficult to see, but a Starshade flown between a space telescope and a star could precisely block out a star’s light and reveal any planets.
The exoplanets could then be analysed for signs of life.
The shade will be too big to fit in a rocket, but Nasa has developed a way of folding it before it is transported and unfurling it once it is in space.
BBC Click’s Spencer Kelly finds out more.
(Animation courtesy of Nasa)
03 Feb 2017