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A team of ambitious astronomers is taking aim at the next next generation of space telescopes, planning an advanced satellite that would capture super-high-definition images on Earth from a million miles away.
The High Definition Space Telescope, or HDST, would be stationed far beyond the moon's orbit, far away from the Earth's electromagnetic interference. A high-tech sensor and powerful optics would give it 25 times better resolving power than the Hubble, and will be more sensitive to UV and other bands critical to monitor. It would make a specialty of studying Earth-like planets that could conceivably bear life.
The proposal for the HDST was revealed Monday by Julianne Dalcanton, an astronomer from the University of Washington, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Dalcanton is co-chair of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, which has also worked to advance other powerful space imaging platforms like Hubble's successor, the James Webb space telescope, set to launch in 2018.
"These are decades-long projects," Dalcanton said in a news release. "Hubble launched 25 years ago when I started grad school, and at lot of us in my generation realize that we have to pay this success forward. This is a chance to get people excited about something that could be their children’s Hubble."