Proposed High Definition Space Telescope (HDST) could directly image exoplanets

A group of astronomers last year proposed a 11.7 meter diameter multi-mirror space telescope that could image planets around other stars: From Cosmic Birth to Living Earths (See also the detailed study in the AURA report (pdf))

The High Definition Space Telescope (HDST) would be sensitive to light at UV through near-infrared wavelengths, viewing the universe from the second Earth-Sun Lagrange point (L2), one million miles from the Earth. Its segmented mirror would be folded into either a current or future heavy-lift rocket, before being launched and deployed at its final home.

In its mission to discover and study Earth-like planets orbiting Sun-like stars, HDST will directly image exoplanets — including planets that may be as much as 10 billion times fainter than their host star — by carefully suppressing the star’s light. HDST’s exquisite image quality at visible wavelengths (with more than 25 times the resolving power of the Hubble Space Telescope) and high sensitivity all the way into the ultraviolet part of the spectrum (100 times more sensitive than Hubble), combined with a versatile set of imaging and spectroscopic instruments, will trigger profound breakthroughs in astrophysics.

Like Hubble and JWST, HDST would operate as a general observatory, supporting a broad range of investigations beyond its core exoplanet mission.

The HDST mirror array in comparison to the Hubble space telescope mirror and the James Webb Space Telescope

HDST‘s primary goal is to find and characterize dozens of Earth-like exoplanets. A sample of dozens of exoEarths opens up the opportunity to identify truly Earth-like worlds with rocky surfaces and oceans, amidst a complex zoo of other varieties of terrestrial planets.

With this large sample, observing telltale signs of life in the planets’ atmospheres becomes possible. If life is rare, HDST will take us from our current complete ignorance of the occurrence rate of inhabited worlds to a first constraint, potentially showing how remarkable our own existence is. 

 If life is common, a large sample of terrestrial worlds with highly unusual atmospheric chemistry will secure our belief that life of some kind exists beyond the Earth, regardless of possible false positives. Whatever the outcome, HDST will change how we see our place in the Universe.

A view of the telescope folded up inside the fairing of a Delta IV Heavy rocket:

A folded 11 m primary mirror, constructed with 54 1.3 m segments, is shown inside a Delta 4-H shroud.

Video: Washington Post panel discusses milestones in commercial space travel

The Washington Post recently hosted a panel discussion on ” how recent milestones in commercial space travel are opening up new frontiers for business and exploration”: Virgin Galactic CEO: The space boom will happen when middle-class Americans can afford to travel there – The Washington Post

The Space Show this week – May.23.2016

The guests and topics of discussion on The Space Show this week:

1. Monday, May 23, 2016: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome back MICHAEL LISTNER, space attorney, to discuss his analysis of the American Space Renaissance Act. Check the upcoming show blog entry for this program for his three part Space Review series on the Act.

2. Tuesday, May 24, 2016: 7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT We welcome back DR. ELIGAR SADEH. Dr. Sadeh is just back from India and will be discussing Indian space policy, strategy & governance, plus public-private partnerships for space development.

3. Friday, May 27, ,2016: 2016; 9:30-11AM PDT; (12:30-2 PM EDT; 11:30 AM – 1 PM CDT. We welcome the return of Robert Walker from the UK. Please check the blog on this upcoming show for Robert’s program content information.

4. Sunday, May 29, 2016: 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): No show today due to the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend.

See also:
* The Space Show on Vimeo – webinar videos
* The Space Show’s Blog – summaries of interviews.
* The Space Show Classroom Blog – tutorial programs

The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.

Video: TMRO 9.18 – Planetary Defense

The latest episode of is now available on line: Planetary Defense – 9.18

Jared, Cariann and Mike talk about Planetary Defense and what we’re doing to save planet Earth from big, nasty objects in space!

New topics discussed:

* Long March 2D Launches Yaogan-30
* New Horizons collects first science on a post-Pluto object
* Orbital ATK reveals Cislunar Habitat Plan
* NASA directly observes fundamental process of nature for first time
* Lockheed Martin announces Mars Base
* First German commander among astronauts named for station flights

TMRO is viewer supported:

TMRO Live Shows are crowd funded. If you like this episode consider contributing to help us to continue to improve. Head over to for information, goals and reward levels. Don’t forget to check out our SpacePod campaign as well over at