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NASA Will Use Repurposed Spy Telescope for Wide-Sky Survey

NASA is prepared to pierce brazen on a new telescope that will have 100 times a margin of perspective of a Hubble Space Telescope and will use aged spy-telescope hardware.

The new mission, called a Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), is approaching to launch in a mid-2020s. It will aim to assistance scientists improved know dim energy, dim matter, planets around other stars and a universe’s evolution. NASA announced a WFIRST telescope with a new video to betray a mission.

The WFIRST goal has been in basic studies for years. It perceived increasing open courtesy when a National Reconnaissance Office (a U.S. comprehension agency) done a warn preference to give NASA dual Hubble-class view telescopes in 2012, that fit a mission’s parameters. On Wednesday, (Feb. 17), NASA’s Agency Program Management Council done a ultimate preference to pursue a WFIRST program, according to a statement. 

“WFIRST has a intensity to open a eyes to a wonders of a universe, many a same approach Hubble has,” pronounced John Grunsfeld, maestro Hubble correct wanderer and a associate director of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, in the statement.

Artist's sense of NASA's Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST).

Credit: NASA/GSFC/Conceptual Image Lab

“This goal singly combines a ability to learn and impersonate planets over a possess solar complement with a attraction and optics to demeanour far-reaching and low into a star in a query to uncover a mysteries of dim appetite and dim matter,” Grunsfeld said.

WFIRST will be NASA’s subsequent vital look-out after a James Webb Space Telescope, that is approaching to launch in 2018 — a few years before Hubble’s approaching retirement. WFIRST’s goal will be to demeanour during vast swaths of a sky in near-infrared light.

The space-based look-out will examine a inlet of dim appetite (the force believed to be speeding adult a enlargement of a universe) and dim matter (an invisible piece that is obliged for many of a mass in a universe). Additionally, by regulating certain kinds of supernovas to magnitude distance, WFIRST will lane how quick a star is expanding. The instrument’s observations of galaxies will give scientists a design of how a star evolved, according to a matter from NASA.

WFIRST’s instruments embody a wide-field instrument, that will do these surveys, as good as a coronagraph, that will assistance search for exoplanets. The coronagraph can retard a light of a star, vouchsafing astronomers hunt for a star’s dimmer, heavenly companions.

WFIRST will also examine a atmospheres of these planets, that is an rising subfield of exoplanet studies. NASA pronounced it hopes a telescope will be means to improved impersonate vast planets and super-Earths, a latter of that are between a sizes of Earth and Uranus. Some scientists trust super-Earths could be habitable.

After a telescope launches, it is approaching to work in L2, that is located distant from a division of Earth’s atmosphere. That mark is 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) from a Earth, conflicting a instruction of a sun, and is a comparatively fast gravitational plcae for WFIRST to do observations.

Follow Elizabeth Howell @howellspace. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original essay on Space.com.


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