NASA's New Spy Satellite Telescope Has Wider Eyes Than Hubble

Posted: Feb 19 2016, 5:40am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

NASA's New Spy Satellite Telescope has Wider Eyes Than Hubble
NASA's Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), illustrated here, will carry a Wide Field Instrument to capture Hubble-quality images covering large swaths of sky, enabling cosmic evolution studies. Its Coronagraph Instrument will directly image exoplanets and study their atmospheres. Credits: NASA/GSFC/Conceptual Image Lab
  • NASA’s Next Project to unlock the secrets of the Universe is Even Bigger than Hubble

NASA’s next major project for the provision of access to the visible universe is even bigger in scale than the Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA revealed its plans to build a bigger telescope than the current one which is termed the Hubble Space Telescope. This new wonder could provide a wider eye span on the universe.

Also it could be possible to detect signs of extra-terrestrial life somewhere in the far-off pavilions of deep space. Called the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), this baby will be an altogether new entity. It will be like taking the Hubble Space Telescope and putting a new lens on it that lend a panoramic view.

A wide-field implement will be in the works. While the same quality pics will be operational, the area will be a hundred times as expansive as in the case of the Hubble Space Telescope. It will have a corona-graph to boot.

This will block the harsh glare of rays of light coming from intervening stars. Thus planets orbiting these stars can be seen with clarity and precision. Even the climatology of these planets will be known with surety thanks to this scheme of things.

“WFIRST has the potential to open our eyes to the wonders of the universe, much the same way Hubble has,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters in Washington.

"This mission uniquely combines the ability to discover and characterize planets beyond our own solar system with the sensitivity and optics to look wide and deep into the universe in a quest to unravel the mysteries of dark energy and dark matter.”

The technology that will help in the detection and discernment of earth-like planets will be on board the telescope as well. Mostly until now, the Kepler Space Telescope was responsible for making out exoplanets. This instrument is old and decrepit and basically out of order.

Thus new directions must be sought in astronomy. With the imminent launch of TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) and JWST (James Webb Space Telescope) this matter will be resolved with finesse. WFIRST will be tailgating these two space objects in 2020. These “new kids on the block” will be be replacing Hubble, Kepler and Spitzer.

"WFIRST is designed to address science areas identified as top priorities by the astronomical community," said Paul Hertz, director of NASA's Astrophysics Division in Washington.

“The Wide-Field Instrument will give the telescope the ability to capture a single image with the depth and quality of Hubble, but covering 100 times the area. The coronagraph will provide revolutionary science, capturing the faint, but direct images of distant gaseous worlds and super-Earths."

The combination is a deadly one. It could lead to many new discoveries that have eluded astrophysicists up until now. Currently, 2000 exoplanets have been delineated.

"In addition to its exciting capabilities for dark energy and exoplanets, WFIRST will provide a treasure trove of exquisite data for all astronomers," said Neil Gehrels, WFIRST project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "This mission will survey the universe to find the most interesting objects out there."

WFIRST will find thousands more of these exoplanets. It is just a matter of time. These lie in the cluster at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Especially the mixture of JWST and WFIRST will lend a new dimension to the search for new worlds in the unfathomable recesses of outer space.

WFIRST will also be employed to detect dark matter and dark energy. Thus it will hopefully unlock several mysteries of the universe. The unknown and the invisible will become known and visible thanks to this daring enterprise spearheaded by NASA.

The WFIRST will image large regions of the sky in near-infrared light to answer fundamental questions about the structure and evolution of the universe and greatly expand our knowledge of planetary systems around other stars. Credits: NASA

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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