Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Looking For Earth-Like Worlds With Nulling Interferometry

Astronomers are going for the brass ring this time. Using a technique called nulling interferometry, they hope to be able to find the first Earth-like planet orbiting a star.

The Very Large Telescope Interferometer, an array of telescopes in Chile, is being outfitted with PRIMA, a nulling interferometry device. This device combines light from different telescopes for incredible resolving power; it should be able to see a quarter on the Moon.


(PRIMA nulling interferometer)

The technique was first suggested for use in looking for Earth-like worlds by Australian-American astronomer Ronald N. Bracewell in 1978. In two-mirror interferometry, light is collected from the star and is then combined using secondary optics in such a way as to put the light from one mirror exactly half a wavelength out of step with light from the other, causing the light from the star to cancel inself out. However, light from the region surrounding the star, like a dust cloud or even an Earth-like planet, is not canceled out, and becomes visible.

"PRIMA will revolutionize exoplanet detection and our understanding of other solar systems," said Fred Kamphues, a telescope expert at Dutch company TNO, which built a key part of the device called the Star Separator.

"I think that with the planned new facilities and future observatories under study, it is quite likely that we will find extraterrestrial life within the next 100 years," Kamphues said.

The VLTI, which is run by the European Space Agency, will be the most effective small-planet hunting telescope on Earth. The VLTI's four large telescopes have mirrors that are 27 feet across.

Update 31-Jul-2016: Read about Edmond Hamilton's search for habitable planets from his 1936 short story Cosmic Quest. End update.

From Wired.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/14/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

'Parastronaut' First Astronaut With Disability From ESA (Updated!)
'He had left Earth to get away from its gravitational field...' - Robert Heinlein, 1942.

Mars Space Weather Alert (MSWA) System
'On the three-dimensional map at weather headquarters... the storm was colored orange.' - AE van Vogt, 1943.

Hovering Over The Lunar Surface
'It looked like a sure thing.' - Raymond F. Jones, 1973.

The Far Side Of The Moon, By NASA (2015) And By PAUL (1932)
"We had leisure to make a thorough observation of the hidden side of earth's satellite."

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

San Francisco Wants ED-209, Or Maybe Robocop
'The Enforcement Droid series 209 is a self-sufficient law enforcement robot...'

Seoul Self-Driving 42dot Bus Unveiled
'Buses without drivers moved close to the curb and stopped at intervals.'

T. Gondii And The Leaders Of The Pack
'... infected males were more than 46 times more likely to become pack leaders than uninfected males.'

'Parastronaut' First Astronaut With Disability From ESA (Updated!)
'He had left Earth to get away from its gravitational field...'

MIT Self-Assembling Reprogrammable Materials
'Faster the cubes moved; faster the circle revolved; the pyramids raised themselves, stood bolt upright on their square bases...'

Mem, The All Your Memories, Super Note-Taking App
'Life experience is linearly additive, but the correlation of memory impressions is an unlimited expansion.'

Porcine Fat Cells For 3D-Printed Whole Pork Products
'I grabbed two Syntho-Steaks out of the freezer...'

LANIUS Loitering Drone Munition Scouts And Maps
'... micro-missiles proceeding at walking pace.'

Copilot Software AI Training Sued By Involuntary Contributors
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

Thin Film Dome Protects Cities From Nuclear Blasts
'What fabric can take that kind of a load? Synthetic spider silk.'

Mars Space Weather Alert (MSWA) System
'On the three-dimensional map at weather headquarters... the storm was colored orange.'

Thermite's Robot Firefighter
Possibly worthy of Transformers!

Fabrican Dress Sprayed Directly Onto Model On Coperni Runway
'...that might appeal to women, because by discharging from a few or a few dozen bottles a liquid that immediately set into fabrics... they could have a new creation every time.'

Israel Deploys Sharp Shooter AI-powered Robot Guns
'They lock onto the target... and do the actual shooting once the target is identified.'

Drone Loiter Munitions Now Available
'...a series of airborne loiter-drones posted on indefinite guard above.'

Amazon Blimp Parent Drone Concept
'So the parent drone carries a spotter that it launches...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.