NASA will reportedly launch an ‘artificial star’ satellite to help astronomers study the universe

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NASA is preparing for a new mission called the Landolt Space Mission by the end of the decade, which will send a satellite that will act like an artificial star. The main purpose of the mission is to improve the accuracy of ground-based telescopes, thereby increasing our knowledge of the universe. The satellite will be launched in early 2029 and will be about the size of a loaf of bread.

The lab will have eight lasers that will provide light ranging from stars to supernovae. The satellite will serve as a new calibration technology for astronomers, allowing them to fine-tune their telescopes and other instruments in observatories. This will enable them to take more accurate measurements of real celestial objects.

The artificial star satellite will be placed 35,785 kilometers above Earth. This distance will allow it to sit in a geosynchronous orbit, which will be stable when viewed from Earth. According to a newsroom post from George Mason University, mission principal investigator Peter Plavchan said the distance is intended to make the satellite look more like a real star. Additionally, the geosynchronous position will be placed over the US in the first year, allowing for better observations by NASA and other independent observatories in the country.

The artificial star will not be visible to the naked eye but will be easily recognizable by normal telescopes that capture images using digital cameras. If adopted, such a setup could help astronomers identify changes in stellar brightness and related features with greater accuracy. Named after Arlo Landolt, a key player in creating the stellar brightness catalogue, the mission was approved by NASA in February and revealed to the public on June 10. The company says the effort will require 30 people and will cost an estimated $19,500,000 (roughly Rs. 162.8 crores).

The Landolt space mission is a major breakthrough in space exploration. As a more permanent and well-known celestial ‘landmark’ it will allow scientists to better calibrate their methods and secure more accurate data with every observation – effectively unraveling more of the mystery of the universe.


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