NASA reveals details about the Habitable Worlds Observatory

Artist's concept of LUVOIR, a 15-meter telescope that was an early NASA concept for a future space telescope.

Artist’s concept of LUVOIR, a 15-meter telescope that was an early NASA concept for a future space telescope. The newly described Habitable Worlds Telescope wouldn’t be that big.

NASA officials revealed Information about the planned next-generation space telescope, the Habitable Worlds Observatory, during a The last session of the American Astronomical Society,

In the session, Mark Clampin, Director of the Astrophysics Division, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, provided some details about The telescope, which can be put into operation in the early 40s.

The need for such Observatory shown in National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Decadal survey in astronomy and astrophysicsa report compiled by hundreds of industry experts Serves as a reference document for the future goals of the fields.

one of the Main findings of the most recent decadal survey Research was necessary habitable worlds beyond our own, using a telescope specially designed for this purpose. The report suggested establishing an observatory worth $11 billionIt has a 6-meter telescope that can receive light in optical, ultraviolet, and near-infrared wavelengths.. (Hubble Space T.Itelescope be seen Most of them are in optical and ultraviolet light, while they have been launched recently Webb Space Telescope Images are in mid-infrared and near-infrared wavelengths.)

suggested by the authors of the decadal survey the Habitable Worlds Observatory as the first new observatory in the Great Observatories Program; Essentially, the backbone of the next generation of space telescopes for the 21st century. as a flag mentionedthe Decadal report’s proposal for a space telescope focused on exoplanets is dropped Somewhere between two seniors NASA suggestionsnamed telescope concepts happix And Lover.

exoplanets are found regularly; Finding worlds with conditions that could host life as we know it is challenging. web observed exoplanets And Infer aspects of their atmospheric chemistryand other telescopes (even planned ones, such as the Romanian Space Telescope) are converting staring towards These strange worlds.

Artist's impression of exoplanet LHS 475 b and the star it orbits.

Unlike other telescopes – operational and those Still on the drawing boardThe planned Habitable Worlds Observatory will specifically look for so-called Goldilocks planets, worlds with potentially life-enhancing conditions.

The search for extraterrestrial life is a relentless goal for NASA. The Mars Perseverance rover is collecting rock samples on Mars to see, among other things, whether there is any evidence of ancient microbial life in an area of ​​the planet that was once a flowing river delta. (It is important to note that the environment is Scientists think it was similar To the place where the first known life occurred on Earth.)

Behind – to the other side Mars, scientists hope so Future investigations You could scour for signs of life in the subsurface ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa or Sea of ​​methane on Saturn’s moon Titan.

But these are just places – and hostile, compared to Earth – within our solar system. missions like he-goat and the Kepler Space Telescope I discovered thousands of exoplanets, but the Earth-like part is Small fade.

Like Webb tElescope, the observatory of the future will be located in L2, a region of space a million miles from Earth that allows objects to stay in place with relatively little fuel burn. (By saving fuel, the life of the missions is extended.)

like Reported by ScienceClampin said the Habitable Worlds Observatory will be designed for maintenance and upgrades. Which Webb is not. That could make the next observatory a permanent presence in NASA’s array of space telescopes.

Hubble was Famous for its service by humans In low Earth orbit several times, due to a number of Mechanical picks and issues that arose over the telescope 32 years in space.

Repairs and upgrades to the Observatory of Habitable Worlds (to be done a million miles from Earth)A little beyond human repairs) will be done robotically, more Star Wars droid style by hand from the IT department.

Space News reported That NASA will be imminent Start seeking nominations for people to join the Science, Technology and Architecture Review Team (START) for the new observatory. The first phase of the observatory’s development is scheduled to begin in 2029.

In November, Clampin told a House subcommittee of which Webb’s telescope suffered 14 hits micrometeoritesTiny, fast-moving pieces of space rock that can damage telescope mirrors. The NASA team is “making some operational changes to make sure we avoid any future impacts,” Clampin said. It has been repositioned to reduce the risk of future strikes.

One of the segments of the telescope mirror was damaged a micro strikeAnd But An analysis by the team found that the telescope “must meet optical performance requirements for many years.”

It is critical to the astronomical community that the budget and schedule for the new observatory stay on track. the It was a Webb project Years later and way over budget. repor space newsts this sSome scientists are calling for an accelerated timeline that could see the Habitable Worlds Observatory launch by 2035.

The ball is rolling well and truly on future telescopes. The question is how will Sisyphus roll the ball.

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