New space mission to create solar eclipses on-demand with satellites

Days before a total solar eclipse sweeps across North America, scientists in Europe have revealed another plan to block out the sun.

The audacious project — called Proba-3 — will align two spacecraft to produce artificial eclipses. By creating this complicated calibration, the mission will capture new views of the Sun — and complete the first-ever precision formation space flight.

At an event today in Belgium, the European Space Agency (ESA) unveiled the Proba-3 satellites: the Occulter and the Coronagraph.

Proba-3’s flightpath

Artist's impression of ESA's Proba-3 mission blocking the Sun between two spacecraft