In 20201 NASA and the University of Arizona will launch the SPARCS small telescope in the search of dim stars that may allow for life. SPARCS, or Star-Planet Activity Research CubeSat, is a portable telescope that measures in at 3.6 inches in diameter and both the telescope and its accompanying camera come equipped with ultraviolet-sensitive detectors. These detectors are pivotal to the design of the SPARCS as it will need the ability to see past the ultraviolet radiation emitted by planets and stars.
The launch of this telescope will play an important part in the search for hospitable planets. Unlike the much larger Hubble telecope, the SPARCS will be able to focus in on M dwarf stars for longer periods of time. The SPARCS small telescope will give researchers insight into where to focus their planet-finding efforts and will be used to train future NASA and ESA researchers at the University of Arizona campus.