Hundreds of years have passed since the time Galileo confirmed that the planet Earth doesn’t form the center of the universe. A long time has gone by even since the Hubble Space Telescope came up with evidence confirming that the universe is home to billions of other galaxies besides our home galaxy Milky Way. We might see scientists making another such ground-breaking discovery within the next fifteen years.
For the first time, space scientists have proposed a new technology capable of aiding discovery of life on Earth-like planets. It’s a powerful telescope that’s still in its conceptual stages.
The scientists are planning to place the telescope over 1 million miles away from the Earth, from where it will be locating and capturing high definition images of Earth-like planets or exoplanets and thereby find out whether any of them hosts life.The AURA report detailed the High Definition Space Telescope’s potential technological advancements as compared to its predecessors. The Hubble Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope mirrors were much smaller than that of what the HDSP could have.
Astrophysicist Mario Livio, a representative of the Space telescope Science Institute, said that he feels finding life beyond earth would constitute a bigger revolution than the Darwinian and Copernican revolutions combined.
He added that this new technology will either show that there’s indeed life in several other places besides our home planet, or will reveal that life is extremely rare and is even more valuable than what we perceive it to be. According to Livio, both these findings have far-fetched implications.
This newly proposed high-definition telescope will actually be refining work that has already been completed by the Kepler mission.
For those who don’t know: NASA launched its Kepler space observatory in 2009. It was designed for locating Earth-like planets within the boundaries of our home Galaxy Milky Way. Here, the term “Earth-like planets” refers to planets that orbit other stars in the same manner as the Earth orbits the sun.
In the past six years i.e. since the launch of the Kepler space observatory, we have come to know about almost 2,000 exoplanets. However, scientists have not succeeded in obtaining a clear view of the majority of those planets. The high-definition space telescope proposed by scientists will be solving this problem effectively.
The new telescope, other than locating exoplanets orbiting different stars will also be able to dim down the powerful light emitted by those stars. This will make the exoplanets visible enough to allow scientists get a clear view of their atmosphere.