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GMU partners with NASA on first space mission

George Mason University and NASA are partnering to place an artificial “star” in orbit around the Earth.

The device will allow scientists to calibrate telescopes and more accurately measure the brightness of nearby stars and explosions of supernovae in far-off galaxies.

This mission will begin to address several challenges of astrophysics including the speed and acceleration of universe expansion.

The artificial “star” will launch in 2029 with a known emission rate of photons to compare for star brightness and shine eight lasers at optical telescopes on the ground to help with calibration.

Utilizing these more accurate measurements, scientists will be able to enhance their understanding of stellar evolution and set a foundation for future discoveries.

Once in orbit at 22,236 miles up, the artificial “star”, which is roughly the size of a breadbox, will not be visible to the naked eye but can be viewed through personal telescopes.

To learn more about the mission, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

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