Future Technology: Solar Gravity Lens

  Exploring exoplanets is one of the most exciting research directions in astronomy. Astronomers always hope to discover Earth 2.0 through innovative detection methods, one of which uses the gravitational lensing effect. According to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, massive celestial bodies in the universe can distort the surrounding space and also bend light. At this time, the massive celestial body is like a convex lens, focusing the light from a distance to a closer place.
  As part of the second phase of NASA’s “Innovative Advanced Concepts” project, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and American Aerospace Corporation jointly developed a method for detecting exoplanets using the solar gravitational lens (SGL). This method requires a group of detectors (satellite-mounted space telescopes) to be placed 550 astronomical units from the earth (1 astronomical unit is the average distance between the sun and the earth) to collect light from the exoplanets. In order to reach the area affected by the sun’s gravity, this group of spacecraft needs to use solar sails and fly out of the solar system at a speed of 121 kilometers per second.
  SGL will magnify exoplanets by 100 billion times. At the same time, a group of telescopes more than 80 billion kilometers away from the Earth can provide us with an excellent view and allow us to observe more details in space. A magnification of 100 billion is enough to allow us to observe the landforms of any planet on an exoplanet!