NASA’s ambitious new satellite, the Blue Beam, is going to help astronomers better understand the sun, a process that could help scientists determine the solar system’s early history.
The new spacecraft will use a powerful radio telescope that will be able to detect faint, red, and even blue-green light, all of which would be useful for studying the solar nebula, a massive cloud of gas and dust that is believed to be a hot and active spot for the birth of the solar sun.
The light will be sent to a powerful ground-based telescope in New Mexico and the team is aiming to send images back to Earth about every two weeks, NASA officials said.
A telescope of this size will be especially helpful for studying a phenomenon known as the “halo effect” that can occur in a solar nebule when bright gas is captured and concentrated by a powerful, energetic star.
NASA has a team of scientists working on the project.
“This is the first time in our 20-year history that we will be doing this in real time,” said Marc Moller, a planetary scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
“We’ve got to make sure we get the best pictures possible.
We’re not going to get the same thing every two years.”
The new mission will be a joint effort between NASA and the European Space Agency.
The U.S. National Science Foundation is contributing funding for the project, with NASA providing the initial technology.
The Blue Beam satellite will be designed to study the birth and evolution of the sun and will be made up of three modules, each about 20 feet in diameter.
The satellite will include a large radio telescope to study sunspots and other objects that could be in the early solar system.
A third module, which will be built at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will be used to measure the sun’s distance from the sun to see how it evolved.
The two other modules will be small and weigh about 10,000 pounds each.
The third module is about the size of a small refrigerator.
The mission is part of NASA’s $1.9 billion effort to build the telescope.
The spacecraft will fly in its final mission in 2022, which NASA hopes will give the telescope a final calibration.
The first launch for the Blue Bldg satellite is expected to occur in late 2019 or early 2020, NASA said.