NASA looks at future astronomy missions

Feb 18, 2008

The U.S. space agency has selected 19 science teams to conduct year-long studies of new concepts for its next generation of major space observatories.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said every 10 years U.S. astronomers and physicists take part in the Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey in cooperation with the National Academy of Sciences. They produce directions that guide federal agencies such as NASA and the National Science Foundation in planning astronomy and astrophysics programs for the coming decade. "The exciting new astrophysics mission concept studies we are funding will seed preparations for astronomical space missions and paradigm-shifting discoveries across the early 21st century," said Alan Stern, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

The concept studies total approximately $12 million in fiscal years 2008 and 2009.

Some of the proposals explore a powerful new combination of telescopes and instruments optimized for observing the tenuous filaments of intergalactic hydrogen gas known as the cosmic web gas.

Another mission would place two laser beacons on Mars. Precise measurements of the distance to these beacons would provide the most stringent test yet of Einstein's theory of general relativity.

The studies' results are expected in March 2009.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: SpaceX Dragon cargo ship arrives at space station

Related Stories

Accelerating universe? Not so fast

Apr 10, 2015

A University of Arizona-led team of astronomers found that the type of supernovae commonly used to measure distances in the universe fall into distinct populations not recognized before; the findings have ...

Building to begin on Solar Probe Plus spacecraft

Apr 09, 2015

NASA's Solar Probe Plus mission—which will fly closer to the sun than any spacecraft has before—reached a major milestone last month when it successfully completed its Critical Design Review, or CDR.

New insights found in black hole collisions

Mar 27, 2015

New research provides revelations about the most energetic event in the universe—the merging of two spinning, orbiting black holes into a much larger black hole.

Mission studies the Sun in soft X-rays

Mar 24, 2015

At any given moment, our sun emits a range of light waves far more expansive than what our eyes alone can see: from visible light to extreme ultraviolet to soft and hard X-rays. Different wavelengths can ...

Recommended for you

A blueprint for clearing the skies of space debris

Apr 17, 2015

An international team of scientists have put forward a blueprint for a purely space-based system to solve the growing problem of space debris. The proposal, published in Acta Astronautica, combines a super-wide field-of-view telesc ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.