Astronomers have discovered more than 5,000 planets outside of the solar system to date. The grand question is whether any of these planets are home to life. To find the answer, astronomers will likely need more powerful telescopes than exist today.
I am an astronomer who studies astrobiology and planets around distant stars. For the last seven years, I have been co-leading a team that is developing a new kind of space telescope that could collect a hundred times more light than the James Webb Space Telescope, the biggest space telescope ever built.
Almost all space telescopes, including Hubble and Webb, collect light using mirrors. Our proposed telescope, the Nautilus Space Observatory, would replace large, heavy mirrors with a novel, thin lens that is much lighter, cheaper, and easier to produce than mirrored telescopes. Because of these differences, it would be possible to launch many individual units into orbit and create a powerful network of telescopes.
Read the full article at: A new, thin-lensed telescope design could far surpass James Webb