NASA will send an artificial star into orbit

NASA will send an artificial star into orbit
NASA will send an artificial star into orbit

The satellite, which is expected to be launched in 2029, aims to improve observations of cosmic phenomena.

An artificial star in orbit by the end of the decade. This is the new (slightly) crazy project from the American Space Agency (NASA). Thanks to a consensus of scientists at George Mason University, NASA aims to improve observations of cosmic phenomena.

In 2029, the American Space Agency will launch a satellite the size of a small box into orbit. It will rotate around the earth geosynchronously – that is, in the same direction and at the same speed.

During the first year of the mission, this fixed point will be maintained over the United States. Lasers on board the satellite will simulate light sources. This will allow researchers to refine their methods of studying and observing cosmic phenomena. The artificial star will be used to create new catalogs of stellar luminosity, the university press release continues.

Not visible to the naked eye

This satellite is launched despite growing concerns about light pollution. However, scientists say that this artificial star will not contribute significantly. It will be 100 times too faint to be visible to the naked eye, but easily observable with medium-sized telescopes.

According to another press release from George Mason University, the mission is estimated at $19.5 million and will involve a team of approximately 30 people.

The university will lead this NASA space mission, named Landolt – in tribute to the astronomer Arlo Landolt, who died in 2022, whose research topics were focused around stellar luminosity.

The project involves a collaboration between George Mason University, NASA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and nine other organizations.

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