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Using innovative orbiting instruments, aerospace engineer Jeremy Kasdin hunts for the universe’s most elusive objects — potentially habitable worlds.

Why you should listen

At Princeton’s High Contrast Imaging Laboratory, Jeremy Kasdin is collaborating on a revolutionary space-based observatory that will unveil previously unseen (and possibly Earth-like) planets in other solar systems.

One of the observatory’s startling innovations is the starshade, an orbiting "occulter" that blocks light from distant stars that ordinarily outshine their dim planets, making a clear view impossible. When paired with a space telescope, the starshade adds a new and powerful instrument to NASA’s cosmic detection toolkit.

What others say

“A flower-shaped spacecraft may help scientists see Earth-like alien worlds like never before. Called a "starshade," the huge, sunflower-like spacecraft would deploy to its full size in space, blocking the light of distant stars so that a space-based telescope can image exoplanets in orbit around the stars. With this technology, researchers could directly image other worlds and potentially find long sought-after Earth twins, a historically difficult task for alien planet hunters.” — Huffington Post

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Live from TED

Wired: The speakers in session 6 of TED2014

March 19, 2014

Technology is always a big theme at TED (it’s the “T,” after all), and in this session we draw back the curtain to take a closer look at what’s really going on within some of the world’s most influential companies. But this isn’t just about the current headline-grabbers. Speakers will also share thoughts and demos […]

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