PIA20903: Starshade Prototype
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 Produced By:  JPL
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This image shows the bare bones of the first prototype starshade by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. The prototype was shown in technology partner Astro Aerospace/Northrup Grumman's facility in Santa Barbara, California in 2013. In order for the petals of the starshade to diffract starlight away from the camera of a space telescope, they must be deployed with accuracy once the starshade reaches space.

The four petals pictured in the image are being measured for this positional accuracy with a laser. As shown by this 66-foot (20-meter) model, starshades can come in many shapes and sizes. This design shows petals that are more extreme in shape which properly diffracts starlight for smaller telescopes.

Starlight-blocking technologies such as the starshade are being developed to help image exoplanets, with a focus on Earth-sized, habitable worlds. To learn more about these technologies, visit http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6454.

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