Win up to $7,000 from NASA for building a starshade for astronomers

NASA has invited ideas on building a starshade that could help astronomers observe the exoplanets.

Do space and spacecraft excite you too? If yes, then here’s a golden opportunity for you to work with NASA. The US space agency has asked the public to give ideas on building a starshade that could be tucked into a rocket, launched into orbit and then expand in space to a size of 330 feet (100 meters) in diameter. Nasa’s astronomers are on the hunt for Earth-like exoplanets that can host life. The small, rocky exoplanets are hard to spot as the light from their host stars blocks their view for the telescopes and observers. Hence, Nasa is planning to build a starshade that would block the star’s glare allowing telescopes to see light reflecting off the planets around it. NASA in its official statement, said, “This light is influenced by surface minerals, oceans, continents, weather, vegetation, and the gasses that make up its atmosphere.”

Dubbed as the Ultralight Starshade Structural Design Challenge, Nasa asked participants to develop a lightweight starshade structure that could be used as part of the HOEE concept. HOEE is the Hybrid Observatory for Earth-like Exoplanets (HOEE) that would convert the largest ground telescopes into the most powerful planet hunters ever made. Here’s all you need to know about Nasa Ultralight Starshade Structural Design Challenge

Nasa Ultralight Starshade Structural Design Challenge

NASA’s Ultralight Starshade Structural Design challenge is hosted by GrabCADrequest for starshade ideas on its official website The deadline to submit the design is Aug 22. The 5 best submissions will get $7,000 (£5,840/AU$10,240) prize money.

The US space agency is looking for a lightweight, low-mass, fuel-efficient design that can pack up small for launch and then open up big once in space. The design also needs to be able to maneuver into precise positions so that it could line up with telescopes on Earth.

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