How a Solar Gravitational Lens Could Closely Examine Exoplanets for Signs of Life

Here’s an amazing concept. A natural telescope, made from the Sun’s gravitational field, that could be used to peer closely at exoplanet in search for signs of extraterrestrial life. And we’re talking close observation, to the tune of tens of miles across.

The concept is called Solar Gravitational Lens (SGL) and what seemed like sheer science fiction when scientists began talking about it is now looking ever more feasible.

Researchers led by Henry Helvajian, senior scientist in the Physical Sciences Laboratories at the nonprofit research center The Aerospace Corporation, have now shared the initial results of this ongoing NIAC study on the preprint server arxiv, which have not been peer-reviewed. Though the team cautioned that the mission would need to overcome several technical challenges, it could ultimately answer one of humanity’s most fundamental questions: Are we alone in the universe?

“The SGL offers capabilities that are unmatched by any planned or conceivable optical instrument,” according to the study, which was co-authored by Slava Turyshev, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and principal investigator of the NIAC mission concept. “With its unique optical properties, the SGL can be used to obtain detailed, high resolution images of Earth-like exoplanets as far as 100 light years from Earth, with measurement durations lasting months, or at most a few years.”

Read the rest on Vice.

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.