Move over Hubble, the High Definition Space Telescope will show us brand new worlds

the high definition space telescope would literally show us new worlds james webb artist conception
Artist conception of the James Webb Space Telescope which is set for a 2018 launch date. NASA
Hubble telescope, prepare to be dwarfed. A new plan outlined by the United States’ leading astronomers reveals an exciting proposal to build the largest telescope in the history of the world. Five times bigger than Hubble and about 100 times more powerful, the High Definition Space Telescope would give scientists the ability to unlock the mysteries of planets “anywhere in the observable universe” (which itself is growing larger by the day).

So detailed would the magnification be, researchers say, that the telescope would be able to “resolve objects only 300 light-years in diameter, [like] the nucleus of a small galaxy or a gas cloud on the way to collapsing into a star and planets.” This isn’t your grandmother’s version of stargazing, kids.

The plan for the telescope is detailed in a report entitled “From Cosmic Birth to Living Earths,” a report commissioned by Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). Ultimately, the goal of such a telescope would be to determine whether or not we really are unaccompanied by other life-bearing planets, or if there are other lifeforms just awaiting discovery.

The report notes that “… some of humanity’s most compelling questions remain unanswered. Are we alone in the Universe? Are other Earth-like worlds common? Do any have signs of life? How did life emerge from a lifeless cosmic beginning? Curious humans have asked these questions for millennia, but for the first time we can foresee actually answering them. With the right technology, and the right telescope, we could soon search nearby exoplanets for signs of life, and tell the cosmic story of how this life came to be.”

Of course, the big roadblock in this project comes down to a matter of money. AURA’s last big project, the James Webb Space Telescope, set for a 2018 launch date, was initially slated to cost $1.6 billion when it was first proposed in 1995. But now, estimates place the total cost of this Hubble successor at $9 billion, which needless to say, has put a significant dent in the available budget for future projects.

That being said, AURA and NASA aren’t in any big rush to push through the High Definition Space Telescope. In fact, even if everything goes according to plan, there are no intentions to move on anything until the 2030’s. But because of the vast amount of resources in terms of time, money, and manpower needed to get any project of this magnitude off the ground, scientists figured that starting early would be in everyone’s best interests.

So get ready, space enthusiasts. In just a couple decades, we could be seeing a whole lot more of the great unknown.


Adobe Premiere Rush CC is the cloud-based video editing app you've been waiting for

On stage at Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe announced its cloud-centric, social video-editing application, Adobe Premiere Rush CC. We took some time to put it through its paces to see what it offers, how it works, and what's missing.
Home Theater

Google Translate busts out of Pixel jail, now works on any Assistant headphones

The best feature of Google’s Pixel Buds was the built-in real-time translation. Now that incredibly useful feature is available on any headphones that feature Google Assistant integration.

From 'E.T." to 'Lord of the Rings,' these are the best movie soundtracks ever

Whether you're a lover of beautifully composed original scores or a fan of perfectly compiled popular music, these are the best movie soundtracks of all time — from Star Wars to Garden State.

Build your way to victory with our guide to Fortnite's timed trials challenge

We show you where to find all of the Fortnite timed trial locations in this season 6, week 3 challenge guide. Find out where you need to go and how to complete all the timed trials right here in this guide.
Emerging Tech

Tokyo robotic warehouse needs almost no human workers

Uniqlo has unveiled its first robot-powered warehouse that requires 90 percent fewer human workers to operate. The Japanese clothing giant plans to invest close to $1 billion dollars to convert all of its warehouses worldwide.
Emerging Tech

Curious how A.I. 'brains' work? Here's a super-simple breakdown of deep learning

What is deep learning? A branch of machine learning, this field deals with the creation of neural networks that are modeled after the brain and adept at dealing with large amounts of human-oriented data, like writing and voice commands.
Emerging Tech

Drop everything and watch Boston Dynamics’ robo-dog dance to ‘Uptown Funk’

After a few years of Earthbound training, Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini robot dog is ready to take on Mars. Bruno Mars, to be precise. Check out Skynet's future pet as you've never seen it before.
Emerging Tech

Self-correcting quadcopter can keep itself aloft even if one rotor fails

Most quadcopters won't fly unless all four rotors are functioning. But what happens if one gets damaged during flight? Researchers from the Netherlands think they've come up with a solution.
Emerging Tech

MIT is building a new $1 billion college dedicated to all things A.I.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has announced a new $1 billion college of computing designed to offer the best possible education to future machine learning A.I. experts.
Emerging Tech

This gadget lets you sleep on airplanes without snuggling a stranger

Odd gadget, or a hug for your face? The Napup Fly+ is a travel pillow, sleep mask, and personal speaker system all rolled into one, attached to the back of the headrest to hold your head up.
Emerging Tech

From flying for fun to pro filmmaking, these are the best drones you can buy

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Healthy mice born from two genetic mothers using stem cells, gene editing

Healthy mice have been born from two genetics mothers and later went on to bear healthy offspring of their own, according to a recent paper published by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Emerging Tech

Japanese scientists are chewing over an ‘electric gum’ that never loses flavor

Researchers at Japan's Meiji University may have found the secret to unlimited chewing gum -- and it just involves zapping your tongue with electricity. Here's what makes it all work.
Smart Home

Vector, the engaging Alexa-like robot, is ready to roam around your home

Anyone who has ever watched Short Circuit or WALL-E has surely dreamed about having a robot buddy come live with them. Finally, that dream is now a reality. It's name is Vector, and it's available now.