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Massive new space telescope planned


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#1    UM-Bot

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 04:19 PM

The successor to the Hubble Space Telescope will be able to observe extrasolar planets like never before.

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Known as ATLAST ( Advanced Technology Large-Aperture Space Telescope ), the telescope will be so large that it will be necessary to ferry its components in to space where astronauts will construct it in orbit at a distance of 1. 5 million kilometers from the Earth - four times further away than the Moon.

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#2    CRYSiiSx2

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 05:06 PM

How big could we go if we put a telescope on the far side of the moon?  Would also need a satellite to communicate with it and the whole process would be harder due to landing...  but I have wondered this for some time now.


#3    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 08:31 PM

View PostCRYSiiSx2, on 22 June 2014 - 05:06 PM, said:

How big could we go if we put a telescope on the far side of the moon?  Would also need a satellite to communicate with it and the whole process would be harder due to landing...  but I have wondered this for some time now.

In theory, when we can construct large objects in space, then you would be able to build larger telescopes in microgravity that 1/6g. On the other hand the resources are closer to hand on the Moon.

Where the lunar far side would really pay dividends is in building large radio telescopes. Were transmit so much radio noise now that radio telescopes are virtually blinded in some wavelengths. Having the Moon between the telescope and Earth will block this noise and make radio telescopes far more sensitive.

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#4    Merc14

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 03:03 AM

This is truly what NASA should be doing.  Incredibly exciting and I hope I live long enough to see the first images.

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#5    coolguy

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 04:23 AM

This is awesome, I hope they get it built in the next 10 years


#6    Paranomaly

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 04:56 AM

This is amazing, it's a must have imo


#7    psyche101

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 06:18 AM

View PostMerc14, on 23 June 2014 - 03:03 AM, said:

This is truly what NASA should be doing.  Incredibly exciting and I hope I live long enough to see the first images.

Me too, envision for between 2025 and 2035, we have a decent chance I think.

ATLAST, using an internal coronagraph or an external occulter, can characterize the atmosphere and surface of an Earth-sized exoplanet in the Habitable Zone of long-lived stars at distances up to ~45 pc, including its rotation rate, climate, and habitability. ATLAST will also allow us to glean information on the nature of the dominant surface features, changes in cloud cover and climate, and, potentially, seasonal variations in surface vegetation.

That's quite a claim, the EELT sounds just as impressive. Waspie was saying in another thread that back in his day (which would be us too I imagine) the largest telescope in the world had a 200 inch primary mirror!! Now this one boasts an 8M mirror, right up to the EELT proposed at 40 meters!

Exciting times indeed, I cannot wait to see these images.

Edited by psyche101, 23 June 2014 - 06:18 AM.

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#8    maximusnow

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 12:20 PM

I want one!


#9    ROGER

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 12:33 PM

My question is will this take away funding that would other wise be available for maned space flights to explore our own solar system ? Finding exo-planets is nice , but in the short term not as important .  My opinion of course.

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#10    Merc14

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 12:40 PM

View PostROGER, on 23 June 2014 - 12:33 PM, said:

My question is will this take away funding that would other wise be available for maned space flights to explore our own solar system ? Finding exo-planets is nice , but in the short term not as important .  My opinion of course.

Did the Hubble Space Telescope take funding away from manned space exploration?  I guess you could look at it that way but the better question is, was Hubble worth it and which mission pushed science further ahead?

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#11    Frank Merton

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 12:41 PM

Manned space flights are hundreds of times more expensive than anything else and from a scientific perspective nowhere as useful on a cost/return basis.


#12    ROGER

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 12:55 PM

View PostMerc14, on 23 June 2014 - 12:40 PM, said:

Did the Hubble Space Telescope take funding away from manned space exploration?  I guess you could look at it that way but the better question is, was Hubble worth it and which mission pushed science further ahead?

I remember at the time of the Hubble repair there was talk of the cost verses letting it de-orbit . The purse strings are held by old politicians , not men of science .

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#13    ROGER

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 12:59 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 23 June 2014 - 12:41 PM, said:

Manned space flights are hundreds of times more expensive than anything else and from a scientific perspective nowhere as useful on a cost/return basis.


What good is knowing and mapping planets that are so far away we cant visit them ? Interesting sure , but worth it to John Doe citizen ? I dont see it .

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#14    Merc14

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 01:31 PM

View PostROGER, on 23 June 2014 - 12:55 PM, said:

I remember at the time of the Hubble repair there was talk of the cost verses letting it de-orbit . The purse strings are held by old politicians , not men of science .

As I remember it, some politicians wanted to deorbit Hubble to punish NASA while the men of science fought tooth and nail to repar it.  Hubble was designed from the outset  to be serviced by the shuttle to not only maintain it but to add to its capabilites so the deorbit clamor was political silliness and proven to be the wrong answer given the massive amount of science Hubble has provided us.  Bang for the buck, there is no question that unmanned missions are the way to go.

Although manned space exploration is exciting and at times awe inspiring, it is massively expensive and the public soon loses interest as shown by the demise of the Apollo missions.  I think we need to make a large leap forward in propulsion systems before manned exploration, on the tax payer's dime, becomes worth the expense.

View PostROGER, on 23 June 2014 - 12:59 PM, said:

What good is knowing and mapping planets that are so far away we cant visit them ? Interesting sure , but worth it to John Doe citizen ? I dont see it .

What makes you think that discovering exoplanets is the only mission this telescope is capable of?  Also, if this scope did find ironclad proof of active life on another planet I would gues that your desire for manned exploration would suddenly become a very popular idea.

You asked for Obamamerica, now you are going to get it.  Stand by for suck or as Pelosi says, "Embrace the suck".

#15    Frank Merton

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 01:42 PM

View PostROGER, on 23 June 2014 - 12:59 PM, said:

What good is knowing and mapping planets that are so far away we cant visit them ? Interesting sure , but worth it to John Doe citizen ? I dont see it .
This is basic science, so of course the scientifically illiterate "don't see it."  What is the use of looking will never be known until we look.  I think just the process of putting what we are in perspective is worth it.





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