Space Origami: Make Your Own Starshade

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In this activity, learners cut out and fold their own collapsible origami starshade, an invention that shields a telescope's camera lens from the light of a distant star so that NASA scientists can examine exoplanets trillions of miles away. By folding their own model starshade, learners will understand how this oversized invention can be packed aboard a rocket. Includes a guide with step-by-step instructions and pictures, a video that explains the purpose and engineering of a starshade, and extensions to build a model space telescope to represent how the whole system works.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
free per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per student)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Stars and Galaxies
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mathematics
    • Geometry

Informal Categories

  • Model Building


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This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • Public domain, ,

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