Large telescopes Management wants to charge small satellites

Not long ago, a space telescope "Kepler" was dismissed by which scientists have confirmed the existence of thousands of exoplanets. His successor TESS intrudes on the work instead of the "Kepler" and is going to find even more celestial bodies. But after we find exoplanets, for more information about them we need more and more powerful space telescopes. These telescopes need extremely large mirrors - much like a James Webb Space Telescope, whose launch has been postponed.

Large telescopes Management wants to charge small satellites

He will use the 6, 5-meter mirror to observe extremely distant galaxies. And like the James Webb space telescope mirror of the future could be composed of many individual segments - from their 18 Webb.

How to see an exoplanet?

Although this type of design is really allows you to send into space a very large telescopes, it has its problems. For example, the need for exceptional stability. "Any perturbation in the spacecraft, a small change in the slope, turning off electronic element, change the heat dissipated by the spacecraft - all this will lead to a slight expansion or contraction of the structure," says MIT postdoc Evan Douglas. "If the perturbations exceed 10 picometres, you will begin to see changes in the structure of starlight in a telescope, and these changes will mean that you will never be able to completely erase the starlight to see the reflected light of the world." All this boils down to is that if the telescope is not very stable, it will be incorrect measurements and affect observation of distant exoplanets.

Researchers can use laser light directed from the ground to the sky, as a method of pointing and stabilization telescopes. It is this idea belted researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, suggesting that in the future we will use small satellites such as CubeSats, for the management of large space telescopes using laser light. "Instead of having to guide the laser from the ground to space, we reject it from space telescope in space," says Douglas.

His idea, scientists have described in a study published in the Astronomical Journal, examining how bright the laser should be, and how far he has to beat and how stable to be. But in general, the team found that current technology can handle. In this scenario, the satellite will send the laser on the telescope mirror, and on-board camera will monitor the lighting and any significant changes, allowing the telescope to be adjusted as needed.

Researchers are still studying some aspects of the logistics of such a system, but in the future, this method can help reduce the cost of large segmented telescopes.

What do you think, what other problems will solve miniature satellites? Let's discuss in our chatting in a telegram.