There’s no question that exoplanets are the hottest topic in astronomy right now. Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society reports that 30% of all papers presented at the American Astronomical Society meeting this month were on exoplanets. Unfortunately, current telescopes do not permit exoplanet researchers to go beyond what Dr. Geoff Marcy calls “census taking.”

A 100-meter space telescope would revolutionize the field of exoplanet research. It would also be useful in other areas of astronomy, of course.

The Keck Institute for Space Studies is funding the development of an innovative concept for building such a telescope from self-assembling components. This technique would eliminate the need for development of a large and very expensive new rocket.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHvrg_jN59g&w=700]

Written by Astro1 on January 19th, 2013 , Innovation

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    Keith Henson commented

    *If* we build power satellite as a solution to the carbon/climate problem, as a side benefit we get telescopes as large as we want. A km is not out of the question. At that scale, you build it out of optical flats.

    We also get Mars missions as large as you could ask for. I have suggested that the 100th power satellite be sent to Mars to power traffic to and from Earth as well as to and from Mars surface. Can anyone think of what to do with tens of tons per hour?

    Keith Henson

    Reply
    January 19, 2013 at 2:09 pm