TRW team studies star-mapping spacecraft #

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA) chose a TRW (Redondo Beach, CA) led team, including Eastman Kodak Co. (Rochester, NY) and Hughes Danbury Optical Systems (Danbury, CT), to develo¥design recommendations for a spacecraft that will improve imaging of stars and measuring their distances from Earth. The Space Interferometry Mission (SIM) interferometer will measure changes in stellar positions 500 times more accurately than current mapping systems. The Earth-orbiting SIM will image s

TRW team studies star-mapping spacecraft #

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA) chose a TRW (Redondo Beach, CA) led team, including Eastman Kodak Co. (Rochester, NY) and Hughes Danbury Optical Systems (Danbury, CT), to develo¥design recommendations for a spacecraft that will improve imaging of stars and measuring their distances from Earth. The Space Interferometry Mission (SIM) interferometer will measure changes in stellar positions 500 times more accurately than current mapping systems. The Earth-orbiting SIM will image stars drifting thorough the galaxy, measure distances to deep-space objects, detect matter around stars, and image galactic centers and star-cluster cores with a resolution four times better than the Hubble Space Telescope. Michael Wehner, TRW study manager, notes that the greatest challenge will be accounting for thermal or vibrational forces that affect instrument shape and accuracy. SIM requires star measurements on the order of a few microarcseconds.

The SIM is part of the Origins program to fathom the origin of galaxies, stars, and planets and the possibility of habitable planets around nearby stars. Technologies for SIM will impact the proposed Terrestrial Planet Finder and, eventually, the Planet Mapper to image planets orbiting close-by stars.

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