A brand new, thin-lensed telescope design may far surpass James Webb

A light, cheap space telescope design would make it possible to put many individual units in space at once.

Enlarge / A light-weight, low cost area telescope design would make it doable to place many particular person models in area without delay. (credit score: Katie Yung, Daniel Apai/College of Arizona, AllThingsSpace/SketchFab, CC BY-ND)

Astronomers have found greater than 5,000 planets outdoors of the photo voltaic system so far. The grand query is whether or not any of those planets are house to life. To seek out the reply, astronomers will probably want extra highly effective telescopes than exist right this moment.

I’m an astronomer who research astrobiology and planets round distant stars. For the final seven years, I’ve been co-leading a crew that’s growing a brand new sort of area telescope that would accumulate 100 instances extra mild than the James Webb Area Telescope, the largest area telescope ever constructed.

Virtually all area telescopes, together with Hubble and Webb, accumulate mild utilizing mirrors. Our proposed telescope, the Nautilus Area Observatory, would change massive, heavy mirrors with a novel, skinny lens that’s a lot lighter, cheaper, and simpler to supply than mirrored telescopes. Due to these variations, it will be doable to launch many particular person models into orbit and create a strong community of telescopes.

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