A team of astronomers is looking to the future of exoplanet exploration and calling for the early planning of launching the telescope of the future into space.
The association of Universities for Research in Astronomy or AURA laid out the thoughtful idea of launching a telescope the likes of Hubble Space Telescope, only larger and more advanced in space somewhere in 2030s.
What is the rush, some may ask. For once, the question of life beyond Earth and of alien hospitable places for humanity will always be a constant of space exploration. Secondly, the amount of time required for planning and budgeting a project is lengthy and thorough.
Thus, AURA astronomers are gazing one step ahead to carry the torch of space exploration into the 2030s or beyond. Plan now and take one step at a time.
AURA’s call is contained in the report titled “From Cosmic Birth to Living Earths” authored by Sara Seager and Julianne Dalcanton of the MIT and University of Washington respectively.
The High Definition Space Telescope that the astronomers are holding as the future of space research would be five times the size of Hubble Space Telescope, with 100 times increased sensitivity. Its mirror’s diameter should reach 40 feet. The High Definition Space Telescope is also envisaged to orbit the sun at a distance of approximately one million miles from our home planet.
Building on evidence revealed by the Kepler spacecraft, the High Definition Space Telescope would be able to take a closer peek at the stars in our galaxy that would be suitable for alien life and hospitable to human life as well.
Matt Mountain, current president of AURA and the former director of Hubble, stated:
“We hope to learn whether or not we are alone in the universe”.
To this hope, the scientific array of possibilities of the High Definition Space Telescope could expand to the nucleus of small galaxies, or gas clouds, or any objects in the observable universe.
There’s a lengthy process of decision making and decision taking when such ambitious projects are concerned. One committee of the National Academy of Sciences surveys astronomers every ten years to find priorities and projects that incorporate them.
The last survey was conducted in 2010, with the next following in 2020. The National Academy of Sciences report is then forwarded to NASA and the U.S. Congress where it is decided which projects get the greenlight and the funding.
Thus it is clear the High Definition Space Telescope project will not feature on the immediate list of NASA projects and it hopefully called the telescope of the future.
Photo Credits naturalishistoria.net
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