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What is Alpha Centauri hiding? Searches for Earth-like planets ramp up around our nearest stellar neighbor

A privately backed organization called Project Blue is seeking $70 million to build and launch a 50-centimeter telescope that would stare at Alpha Centauri. Last year, the project raised $150,000 through crowdfunding to design the spacecraft. Franck Marchis, an astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, a partner with Project Blue, says such a telescope, outfitted with a coronagraph, would be able to obtain an image. "It's doable. The technology is there," Marchis said. "The goal is to image a pale blue dot."


Seeing Blue - the hunt for Earth's sister (COVER STORY)

Dubbed Project Blue, the mission aims to build and launch a space telescope with a single goal in mind: to image any planets in the habitable zones of the nearest Sun-like stars. If such planets were Earth-sized with oceans and atmospheres, then they could even “see Blue”, Project Blue’s term for finding a potentially habitable planet.



The potential payoff for this mission would be incredibly profound. By directly imaging another planet in the closest star system to our own, Project Blue could gather vital data that would indicate if any planets there are habitable. [...] If [the mission] should prove to be successful, Project Blue would allow for some of the greatest scientific finds in history.


Project Blue: Looking for Terrestrial Worlds at Alpha Centauri

Eduardo Bendek’s ACEsat, conceived at NASA Ames by Bendek and Ruslan Belikov, seemed to change the paradigm for planet discovery around the nearest stellar system. The beauty of Alpha Centauri is that the two primary stars present large habitable zones as seen from Earth, simply because the system is so close to us.


Space Act Agreement to support private space telescope project

WASHINGTON — NASA has signed a Space Act Agreement with a private organization currently raising funds for studies of a space telescope designed to look for habitable planets around a nearby star.


BoldlyGo Institute and NASA Sign Space Act Agreement for Joint Cooperation on Project Blue Mission

"We're pleased to be working with NASA on this ambitious public-private partnership," said Dr. Jon Morse, CEO of BoldlyGo. "Much of the coronagraph imaging technology needed for Project Blue to take direct images of exoplanets from space has been developed through NASA-funded programs. Having access to NASA's scientific and technical expertise throughout the mission lifecycle is invaluable," Morse continued.


Can Crowdfunding Find Earth 2.0?

Putting a telescope in space is a long way off, but the Project Blue advisor group is full of the kind of names that'd give one confidence that someday this project could become real.

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Project Blue's Planet-Hunting Space Telescope Gets New Crowdfunding Campaign

The private space telescope initiative Project Blue launched a new crowdfunding campaign Sept. 6 in a second attempt to raise money for its mission to directly image Earth-like exoplanets. 


Scientists are building a telescope to seek another Earth — and you can help

“We are seeking to take another pale blue-dot image,” said Jon Morse, former director of NASA’s astrophysics division and current chief executive of the BoldlyGo Institute, a research organization that is co-leading Project Blue. “This is the holy grail of exoplanet research.”


Scientists Seek Your Help to Photograph Another Sun's 'Pale Blue Dot'

“It's a great time to be moving on a project like this using private funding,” Jon Morse, the CEO of BoldlyGo and one of the leaders of Project Blue, tells mental floss. “It leverages what NASA has been investing in exoplanet research, along with pulling together the technologies and capabilities that commercial space has been developing, which has really brought a lot of the cost down.”


Telescope to Seek Earthlike Planet in Alpha Centauri System

A scientific research consortium on Tuesday announced plans to build and launch a privately financed telescope the size of a small washing machine in hopes of finding an Earthlike planet in the Alpha Centauri system, one of our closest cosmic neighbors.


Ambitious mission to capture first picture of Earth-like planet launched

Astronomers have launched an ambitious project to capture the first picture of an Earth-like planet that could be home to life beyond the solar system. The privately-led mission aims to build a space telescope the size of a washing machine and point it at Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to Earth, in the hope of glimpsing a rocky world or two where life may have gained a foothold. If the project is successful, it could produce an image to rival the iconic “pale blue dot” photograph taken in 1990 when Nasa’s Voyager 1 probe looked back at Earth as it barrelled out of the solar system.


Project Blue: Private Space Telescope to Hunt for Alien Earth at Alpha Centauri

A new initiative called "Project Blue" aims to spy on our interstellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri, to capture an unprecedented visible-light image of any Earth-like planets that might orbit there. The project, which hopes to launch a lightweight telescope into Earth orbit by 2019, was announced today (Oct. 11).


Project Blue Sets Sights on "Pale Blue Dots" around Alpha Centauri

“Looking around the very nearest Sun-like stars is the next logical step in the search for another Earth,” says Supriya Chakrabarti, an astronomer at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, who is developing planet-imaging technologies for Project Blue.