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NASA’s 6-mile wide orbital telescope is built at a 1/6 scale • The Record – Yalla Match

NASA has plans to build a six-mile (9.66 km) wide telescope in Earth orbit, consisting of a constellation of six toaster-sized satellites. The first of these toasters has just been completed.

The Solar Interferometer Space Experiment, or SunRISE, will closely monitor our local star to help scientists gain a better understanding of space weather events caused by solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The six “mini-satellites” will orbit the Earth about 22,000 miles (3,540,568 km) in a circular formation.

For reference, the Moon is about 238,900 miles (384,472 km) from Earth, while James Webb Space TelescopeHis home is located at Lagrange Point 2, about 1 million miles (1,609,344 km) away.

SunRISE’s SmallSats will connect together to act as a single antenna used to detect bursts of radio waves that indicate a solar event that could have an impact on human space activities. Justin Kasper, principal investigator at SunRISE, said the project’s ultimate goal is to improve understanding of the mechanisms that drive space weather events.

“These high-energy solar particles can threaten unprotected astronauts and technology,” Casper explained. And by tracking the radio bursts associated with these events, we can be better prepared and informed.”

Because it doesn’t have a lens, SunRISE will capture images using interferometry — the same principle as the Event Horizon Telescope that NASA scientists used to photograph giant black hole In the center of the Milky Way.

Interferometry “works by creating a group of smaller telescopes that can synchronize to focus on the same object at the same time and act as a giant virtual telescope”, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory explained.

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Because it is in orbit, SunRISE will have a unique ability among interferometric telescopes to see long radio wavelengths that are normally blocked by Earth’s ionosphere.

These radio wavelengths will help SunRISE determine the origin of solar radio bursts, which will help Earth astronomers understand how early detection of solar-energy particles can benefit Earth. NASA said its location will also allow SunRISE to map the pattern of solar magnetic field lines reaching interplanetary space.

With the first six satellites to be completed by the University of Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory, SunRISE has some work to do before its estimated launch date of 2024 — and that’s far from certain.

as part of NASA Explorer The Opportunity Mission program that funds small space projects, SunRISE will must rely On a commercial space company Maxar to move it into orbit. Depending on Maxar, SunRISE could be launched anytime between April 2024 and September 2025. ®