A Telescope at the Solar Gravitational Lens: Problems and Solutions


G. A. Landis (2018), JBIS71, pp.369-374

Refcode: 2018.71.369
Keywords: Gravitational lens, Interstellar precursor

Gravity bends light; therefore, the gravity of the sun forms a lens. In principle, a spacecraft sent to the distance of the solar gravitational focus could be used as a gravitational lens telescope. Several possible objectives for such a mission have been proposed. The mission would utilize the gravitational lens as a telescope to image and map an extrasolar planet, with the assumption that, before launch, a nearby target planet has been discovered. Moreover, various potential applications– ranging from astronomy to SETI to communications–have been proposed as well. Previous discussions regarding the use of a gravitational lens as a telescope have been notably lacking in key design details. Thus, it is important to consider the issues with this concept as well as some approaches to mitigate such difficulties in order to make this mission a reality.