NASA organizes contest to design a stellar shadow that will help find planets

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In order to help the largest ground-based telescopes find planets similar to Earth, the US space agency, Nasa, has opened a competition for help in the design of a hybrid observatory.

Among the features requested by NASA is a structural design challenge for light star shadows that can be used as part of the HOEE concept. This construction should allow it to be packed compactly and successfully deployed once in Earth orbit. Also, it needs to be as light as possible so that chemical thrusters can keep it aligned and propulsion systems can change its orbit using as little fuel as possible.

The agency explains: One way to identify an exoplanet in the vast darkness of space, and determine its potential habitability, is to look at the light it reflects as it orbits its star. This light is influenced by surface minerals, oceans, continents, climate, vegetation, and the gases that make up your atmosphere.

[NASA muestra el mapa de la infernal ola de calor que sufre la Tierra]

Importance of the contest

“The hybrid observatory could help us answer some of the most pressing questions about extraterrestrial life,” said Dr. John Mather, senior astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope. “Looking at many systems would help answer the question of why setups like ours are rare and why none are like home. It’s really exciting that the public can be a part of this revolutionary effort. I can’t wait to see what ideas they bring to the table.”

The results NASA hopes for is that ingenuity is required in suitable geometric shapes that are naturally strong and stiff, and not subject to Euler buckling. In addition, a winning concept is sought that is robust enough so that deployment on the ground does not require perfect g-negation systems (gravity compensation).

The top five submissions will share a $7,000 prize pool. The contest deadline is August 22. The challenge is managed by GrabCAD. To know the requirements you can visit the following link

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