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This crazy NASA project wants to send a mini Sun into orbit

This crazy NASA project wants to send a mini Sun into orbit
This crazy NASA project wants to send a mini Sun into orbit

NASA never runs out of ideas for launching new missions. During the presentation of one of them, the American space agency proposed the idea of ​​launching a very small star into orbit (the size of a shoebox). The latter, equipped with lasers, should reproduce the radiation of supernovae or galaxies as we perceive them from Earth.

The objective of such a mission is to understand the different nuances of interpretation by scientists when reading observation results. NASA researchers also want measure to what extent the atmosphere plays its role as a “filter” between the night sky and us.

Understanding the sky

For the astronomers behind this mission, which should be launched before the end of the decade, the objective is therefore to understand how we observe the sky, but also some of the “real” differences between two results.

This experiment should also make it possible to more precisely locate an observation in a 3D sky. To calculate the distance between Earth and a galaxy or supernova, scientists use the so-called “redshift” method.

As light passes through the void, the waves “lengthen” and shift in the visible spectrum toward red. This well-known phenomenon makes it possible to locate objects in the sky within a few light years.

Light pollution to worry about?

The announcement of the placing into orbit of a “miniature star” by NASA is enough to provoke reactions, but the reality is much less frightening. Indeed, NASA scientists have already explained that the satellite would not be larger than a shoe box.

It should not dazzle us. If its lasers are turned towards Earth, they will be 100 times too faint to be visible to the naked eye. Only NASA telescopes will be able to observe their rays.



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