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NASA will send an artificial “star” into space

NASA will send an artificial “star” into space

NASA wants to launch an artificial star, about the size of a toaster, equipped with eight lasers into space to mimic the way these celestial bodies work and thus study how real stars work.

The fake star is part of the space agency's $19.5 million Landolt mission, which aims to help scientists make more accurate measurements of real stars. Researchers say it could help study dark energy, the mysterious and hypothetical form of energy used to explain why the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate.

Even with today's modern instruments, measurements of the true brightness of stars are only slightly known. Landolt makes it possible to improve these measurements by more than tenfold.

David Ciardi, deputy director of NASA's Exoplanet Science Institute and an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology, said in a statement.

The mission is named after astronomer Alru Landolt, who produced widely used star brightness catalogs since 1973 and died in 2022.

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The research team will compare the known luminosity of the artificial star with its more distant counterparts to create new catalogs of stellar brightness. Although the artificial star is not bright enough to be visible with the naked eye, it can be seen through binoculars.

By examining the brightness of distant stars, the researchers also hope to study the expansion rate of the universe, which could shed light on dark energy, one of the biggest mysteries facing astronomy today.

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The spacecraft will be launched sometime in 2029 and will orbit the planet in a synchronous orbit at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers to remain stationary above a single point on Earth.


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