Technologies relating to the exploration of exoplanets are currently in full expansion. It is in this context that the NASA announced the creation of a space reconnaissance project aiming to surpass the performance of its predecessors. For the time being, the challenges taken up by the researchers are considerable and it will therefore be necessary to develop new technological processes in parallel to complete the project.
The particularity of this new space exploration device lies in particular in terms of its architecture. The new approach would send tiny satellites into space, instead of a single piece. However, this approach raises other technological challenges that researchers will have to face.
The project is so audacious that no investment has yet been indicated to allow the start of research. In any case, the results of the first studies have been published in the journal Centauri Dreams.
An embryonic project already subject to major challenges
In order to avoid unnecessary loss of time, the scientists opted for many tiny cube-sats, which would self-assemble up to a fixed marker above the exoplanets to be observed. The point in question is a segment located between the star of the exoplanet and the vacuum of space. Therefore, the use of a gravity thruster is therefore a feasible but complex approach.
Furthermore, the process will be more stressful for a horde of machines instead of just one. Propulsion sails do not perform optimally when exposed to solar radiation, which is crucial for gravitational propulsion. Another obstacle, but obvious, would be to control how to manage the movements of multiple satellites during complex gravitational maneuvers.
Finally, the electronics of the device should be further elaborated than existing technologies. However, the difficulties listed can be resolved through additional research and simulations.
The commissioning of the project is not yet possible
Ultimately, the project would be able to provide a coherent and a high definition representation of a planet that humanity has never yet succeeded in observing. Nevertheless, dMultiple studies must be carried out beforehand before such a mission is feasible. In any case, let’s not forget that this is exactly how large-scale studies begin.