Space: why is NASA planning to send an artificial star into orbit?

Space: why is NASA planning to send an artificial star into orbit?
Space: why is NASA planning to send an artificial star into orbit?

The Landolt space mission is intended to improve the calibration of telescopes on Earth.

To do this, NASA wants to place an artificial star in orbit, which will serve as a standard.

A star like no other will soon appear in the sky. In an effort to improve the accuracy of telescopes on Earth, the US Space Agency has announced plans to place a satellite in Earth orbit approximately 35,500 kilometers above the surface of our planet, a distance sufficient to mimic a real star in the eyes of terrestrial telescopes.

This artificial “star”, which has been named Landolt, will not be bright enough to be seen with the naked eye, according to the scientists in charge of the mission. But if you have a small personal telescope, you may be able to see an object the size of a shoebox stationary in the sky, indicates the specialist site Space.com. The launch is planned for 2029.

Improving the precision of telescopes

Once in orbit, the satellite will point eight lasers towards telescopes, which will observe this artificial “star” at the same time as their scientific targets. By measuring the amount of light absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere, then comparing the readings with around fifty witness stars, astronomers will be able to obtain a reference point and thus improve the calibration of telescopes in the future.

George Mason University
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The mission should allow scientists to study with greater finesse the various properties of stars, such as their luminosity, their size, their age and even their distance from our planet. And also to deduce more precisely the quantity of energy produced by these stars, all data which will facilitate the search for a twin planet of the Earth, underline those responsible for the mission in a press release.


Matthieu DELACHARLERY

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