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Massive new space telescope planned

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

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.

Read More: http://www.unexplain...lescope-planned

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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.

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

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This is amazing, it's a must have imo

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Posted (edited)

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

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I want one!

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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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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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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.

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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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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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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.

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.

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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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One thing that would come out of this is we'd finally have undeniable proof of landing on the Moon. Would we need to build a number of solar panel stations to run it along with the communications array?

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Hubble has astounded us with some of the most amazing images taken in space, I cannot begin to imagine the wonders this behemoth will reveal! Awesome!

By the way, love the Acronym ATLAST, like the designers and scientists were saying oh at last we finally get some friggin funding lol :clap:

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When they say "Launch Date" do they mean the Telescope will be finished and working, or will 2030 be the "Launch Date" of the first component and the subsequent several years of building?

Also, while I would like the liquid water areas in our own Solar System investigated, we still need to look further. I don't think it'll stop the possibility to explore such things as the telescope is going to be a constant thing once up. In fact, it might increase peoples interest in looking in the water areas in our Solar System.

I think it's stupid that it isn't being done sooner (exploration of water in our SS) but the Hubble Space Telescope does need replacing. The problem I have... Is it takes so long to actually build the damn thing and get stuff moving, that by the time you do, technology has improved and you either have to rethink the design or put "out-of-date" technology in. I just hope it's flexible in that regard.

Anyway, I just hope that billionaires become more interested in Space and the Ocean. They have the money to help fund projects. I wish I was a billionaire. I'd do so many things for mankind.

Ah well.

Problem is, I'm not going to be around to enjoy the fruits of ATLAS, most likely. I also doubt I'll be alive to see if there is life in our own solar system in one of the couple of locations we've found already.

That's the most depressing thing. Not around to enjoy it....

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Posted (edited)

When they say "Launch Date" do they mean the Telescope will be finished and working, or will 2030 be the "Launch Date" of the first component and the subsequent several years of building?

Also, while I would like the liquid water areas in our own Solar System investigated, we still need to look further. I don't think it'll stop the possibility to explore such things as the telescope is going to be a constant thing once up. In fact, it might increase peoples interest in looking in the water areas in our Solar System.

I think it's stupid that it isn't being done sooner (exploration of water in our SS) but the Hubble Space Telescope does need replacing. The problem I have... Is it takes so long to actually build the damn thing and get stuff moving, that by the time you do, technology has improved and you either have to rethink the design or put "out-of-date" technology in. I just hope it's flexible in that regard.

Anyway, I just hope that billionaires become more interested in Space and the Ocean. They have the money to help fund projects. I wish I was a billionaire. I'd do so many things for mankind.

Ah well.

Problem is, I'm not going to be around to enjoy the fruits of ATLAS, most likely. I also doubt I'll be alive to see if there is life in our own solar system in one of the couple of locations we've found already.

That's the most depressing thing. Not around to enjoy it....

I wouldn't expect this telescope to launch anytime soon, probably not until the James Webb Space Telescope is reaching its end of mission date(10 years planned mission with a tentative launch in 2018, way late and way overbudget but once it is out there and operational it will) although one has nothing to do with the other.

Edited by Merc14

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It always seems a little pointless to me to try and discover planets that our great,great, great, great (ad infinitum) grand children would even have the opportunity to say "Hello" to. And it would be their great, great (you get the idea) grandchildren that get a response (wrong number, try again).

It seems much more interesting and useful to explore our own Solar System first. Grand projects are one thing, but lets invest in earthbound projects (such as the LHC) to try to understand the fundamental laws that apply to us.

There is so much in fundamental astro- physics that just do not square the circle. An awful lot of faith is put into one thesis, supporting another thesis, supporting another thesis that I fear we may be building a House of Cards, where the original assumption does not hold true, so bringing down all of the established beliefs. It is little more than a Religion of Scientific Beliefs. IMO

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Posted (edited)

It always seems a little pointless to me to try and discover planets that our great,great, great, great (ad infinitum) grand children would even have the opportunity to say "Hello" to. And it would be their great, great (you get the idea) grandchildren that get a response (wrong number, try again).

It seems much more interesting and useful to explore our own Solar System first. Grand projects are one thing, but lets invest in earthbound projects (such as the LHC) to try to understand the fundamental laws that apply to us.

"Interesting" is a very subjective term, what interests one person can bore another, so there is no point in discussing what is interesting and I'll just agree to differ with you.

Understanding the fundamental laws that govern us are, I agree, important. How useful that knowledge will be only the future will tell.

However I would argue that knowing our place within the universe is just as fundamental to our scientific knowledges as anything that the LHC will discover. Exploring the solar system is diminished if those discoveries can not be put into perspective. How does our solar system differ from others? Is our solar system rare in configuration or common? We can only know these things by looking at other solar systems.

Imagine exploring your home country. How much greater is that appreciation when you have sampled what other countries have to offer.

Although we can not visit these worlds I do not think that should stop us exploring them from afar. We may gain new insights and a better appreciation of our own, tiny corner of the universe if we look towards others.

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
- T. S. Eliot Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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That won't happen anytime soon. Before they deploy the cart, they'll have to build the horse.

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Wat happens when u look at the sun with the telescope?

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Wat happens when u look at the sun with the telescope?

You don't look at the Sun with the telescope.

It will have very sensitive detectors designed to operate in very low light conditions. Pointing them at the Sun would permanently destroy them.

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You don't look at the Sun with the telescope.

It will have very sensitive detectors designed to operate in very low light conditions. Pointing them at the Sun would permanently destroy them.

Thats wat i meant. Wat if one were to accidentally point it at the sun? Eyes too would be destroyed

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