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The black box set to revolutionize the search for life beyond Earth

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The black box set to revolutionize the search for life beyond Earth

Post by Dragon on Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:31 pm

In the world's driest desert, an unassuming black box called "Espresso" is about to begin a very big mission: scouring the universe for planets like ours to find signs of life beyond Earth.

Espresso, an instrument known as a spectrograph, has a humble appearance that belies its cutting-edge technology: it is the most precise instrument of its kind ever built, 10 times stronger than its most powerful predecessor.

In the Atacama desert, in northern Chile, Espresso will be hooked up to four telescopes so big that scientists simply named them the Very Large Telescope, or VLT. Together, they will search the skies for exoplanets—those outside our own solar system—looking for ones that are similar to Earth.

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Re: The black box set to revolutionize the search for life beyond Earth

Post by Dragon on Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:32 pm



The Echelle SPectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations (ESPRESSO) successfully made its first observations in November 2017.

 
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Re: The black box set to revolutionize the search for life beyond Earth

Post by Dragon on Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:33 pm



The Echelle SPectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations (ESPRESSO) successfully made its first observations in November 2017. Installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, ESPRESSO will search for exoplanets with unprecedented precision by looking at the miniscule changes in the properties of light coming from their host stars.

For the first time ever, an instrument will be able to sum up the light from all four VLT telescopes and achieve the light collecting power of a 16-metre telescope.

 
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