Starlight reflection could help unlock maps of alien planets

01/29/2013 | InsideScience.org

Astronomers hope starlight reflections can help them create approximate maps of distant alien planets. The technique, called "rotational unmixing," was developed by planetary scientist Nicolas Cowan and is based on an experiment using test images of Earth from NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft. Using the reflections of the starlight, Cowen was able to determine surfaces, such as land or water, and plot them on a map.

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