NASAs new flower-shaped spaceship will take real photos of alien planets

NASA’s JPL released a concept for a new sunflower-shaped spaceship that will take actual photographs of planets outside our solar system. While scientists have been able to detect planets for years, obtaining real photos hasn’t been possible due to the intense brightness of the stars those worlds orbit.
However, the flower-shaped “starshade” spacecraft is designed to fix that problem. The ship is actually a hybrid telescope/spaceship that has two essential parts: the flower portion, and a telescope portion that can detach and operate independently.
(Think of it as a far more expensive and cooler version of Sony’s QX Smart Lenses that uses your smartphone in conjunction with a powerful lens.) NASA’s PlanetQuest site explains that the flower portion will position itself between the telescope component and the star it’s observing to block out the light before reaching the mirrors.
“With the starlight suppressed, light coming from exoplanets orbiting the star would be visible,” NASA explains. “Using this technology, astronomers would be able to take actual pictures of exoplanets, images that could provide clues as to whether such worlds could support life as we know it.”