Project Blue To Discover And Photograph Of Earth-Like Planets At Alpha Centauri Soon
Finally, Project Blue is coming. Project Blue is built to be the first mission capable of acquiring an image of another Earth-like planet. It was announced by the consortium of prominent science and research institutions led by BoldlyGo Institute and Mission Centaur as a new generation of discovery and space research.
Way back in 2009, Kepler space observatory was launched by NASA to orbit around the sun with its reason of using the satellite to explore Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. Kepler is equipped with a photometer, which can measure the brightness of over 150,000 stars in the Milky Way. A planet passing in front of the stars could dim its brightness that let scientists from Earth, know the planets distance and size from the sun.
Project Blue aims to take a picture of the Alpha Centauri system, the closest sun-like star to our solar system. The project is privately funded and will be launched into the orbit in just a few years. The project includes a team of outstanding scientists and one of the leaders of the said project is the CEO of BoldlyGo Institute, Jon Morse. The team will be joined by some universities including the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, SETI Institute, and etc.
Supriya Chakrabarti, a professor in the Department of Physics and Applied Physics at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and as well the director of Lowell Center for Space Science and Technology, quoted "What makes the Alpha Centauri system so attractive is that each of the two stars is a lot like our own sun, which gives us two chances to find planets in either of their habitable zones." In addition to that, Alpha Centauri's binary structure makes it very difficult target. Since the system has two stars namely, Alpha Centauri A and B, that appear very close to each other in the night sky.
With a $50 million budget, the team behind the said project is hoping for a successful mission. Morse said that the most of the funding will be provided by high-net-worth individuals and institutions. It would be significant to find Earth's twin, and finding it can mean many things. Project Blue's goal is to launch a customized telescope the size of a small washing machine in Low Earth Orbit around 2020.