Flying in formation with a space telescope, the starshade occulter promises to enable high-contrast imaging of exoplanets by blocking out the light from the target star. None has ever flown in space, but NASA has begun an effort to mature the technology quickly and sufficiently enough to be considered by the 2020 Decadal Survey of astronomy and astrophysics. Launched in September, NASA’s S5 project aims to raise the starshade technology readiness level (TRL) to 5 by 2023, with a plan ...

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