The Habitable Exoplanet Observatory is a future spacecraft that could allow researchers to track down exoplanets that offer habitable conditions. A high-performance telescope would sport an impressive mirror and an advanced technique to block light emitted by selected stars.
Previous efforts have located a large number of planets beyond the limits of our solar system, but little is known about their habitability.
HabEx would be an essential space forward that could simplify the task of tracking down Earth-like planets while also uncovering new data about other systems. The main trait of the spacecraft is represented by a 4 meters mirror that is considerably larger in comparison to the 2.4 meters mirror found aboard Hubble.
A key advantage would be present in the form of the starshade. The starshade is 53 meters disk-shaped in the form of a star that can be folded using a technique similar to origami. After the desired orbit is achieved, the starshade can be unfolded as used as a shield against the light that is generated by some stars.
New NASA’s HabEx Mission Attempts to Track Down Habitable Exoplanets
Besides the primary goal, HabEx will also have the ability to perform a large number of tasks that are related to general astrophysics.
Among them, we can count the study of the early stages in the evolution of the universe. By gathering more data about those eras, researchers can learn more about many cosmic objects.
It is essential to mention the fact that HabEx is a concept mission for now. This means that all the studies and experiments related to the potential of the mission have been conducted, and initial feedback data has been quite positive.
NASA is working on four mission concepts that will be presented during the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey. If everything goes according to plan, HabEx could make the transition from a concept mission to a real one as funds will be granted.