The goal of the project is to facilitate observation of exoplanets. Using a telescope to focus on a specific point in space is a difficult task when the target is surrounded by other light emitting objects. ‘Starshade’ will block out interference, leaving only the target object in the field of vision of the telescope.
The system is made up of a powerful telescope and shadow shield, with a distance of 40 thousand km between the two. Both devices are completely synchronized, moving with a 2 mm maximum margin of error.
Scientists are also working on a powerful WFIRST telescope which will also block the radiation from celestial bodies using a coronagraph. The projects are being developed in parallel and will be completed by mid-2020. NASA does not exclude the option of simultaneously testing them and executing them in the future.