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Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven’t seen any of them — yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped “starshade” positioned 50,000 km from a telescope to enable imaging of planets about distant stars. It is, he says, the “coolest possible science.”

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