17th May (UPI) – NASA's smallest exoplanet hunting satellite, CubeSat ASTERIA, has recently captured photos of Los Angeles from 400 kilometers above the surface. The Space Propulsion's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has posted the photos on its website this week.
ASTERIA, short for Arcsecond Space Telescope Enabling Research at Astrophysics, is a miniaturized satellite that consists of six 4.5-inch cube-shaped units. Most of the time, ASTERIA is on the search for alien worlds in the Milky Way, far beyond our own solar system, away from Earth. But in March, the CubeSat set its camera on the city of angels.
The newly released photos reveal the nightly network of highways and highways in Los Angeles ̵
On the evening that ASTERIA took the photo, Dodger's hometown in Arizona played Diamondbacks. The picture shows the Dodger Stadium, a bright spot in the middle of the photo.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where ASTERIA was designed and built in Pasadena, is located in the upper right quadrant of the photo, directly beneath the darkness of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Over the past year, ASTERIA has passed a series of tests that prove its exceptional pointing ability. Currently, the miniaturized satellite scans the sky in search of exoplanets.
ASTERIA is to search for planets according to the same strategy as Kepler and NASA's newest aircraft fighter TESS. The CubeSat records images of bright sun-like stars. These observations are then analyzed to provide evidence of periodic dimming. This is the signature created by orbiting exoplanets as they move across the face of their host star.
"The extended mission [ASTERIA] also provides long-term validation of hardware and software for future projects," said NASA.