The recently launched Gaia spacecraft could detect could 21,000 exoplanets during its five year mission to construct a 3D space catalog of approximately 1 billion astronomical objects.
When Gaia reached its final mission point, the spacecraft literally turned its back on us.
That’s because the Sun shade, deployed after launch, generates power for the craft and blocks the sunlight, giving the optics a perfect view of the galaxy.
Although its primary mission is to map stars, a byproduct of all the images taken will be data that can be attributed to exoplanets. Due to the accuracy of the images that GAIA will take, a lot of new science is bound to be discovered. Researchers haven’t even finished processing the data from Kepler, so this will keep everyone busy even longer.
Exciting times ahead.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +