Question: Recently NASA launched a mission to investigate the Universe. Name of the mission is?
- US space agency NASA has unveiled a new space telescope, SPHEREx, that would begin a two-year mission in 2023 to look for life’s ingredients and probe how the universe evolved.
- As per NASA, the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) mission is a planned two-year mission at a cost of 242 million USD.
- NASA’s SPHEREx mission will help astronomers understand both how our universe evolved and how common are the ingredients for life in our galaxy’s planetary systems.
- SPHEREx will survey the sky in optical as well as near-infrared light which, though not visible to the human eye, serves as a powerful tool for answering cosmic questions.
- Astronomers will use the mission to gather data on more than 300 million galaxies, as well as more than 100 million stars in our own Milky Way.
- It will deliver an unprecedented galactic map containing ‘fingerprints’ from the first moments in the universe’s history. And we’ll have new clues to one of the greatest mysteries in science.
Objectives of SPHEREx:
- SPHEREx will survey hundreds of millions of galaxies near and far, some so distant, that their light has taken 10 billion years to reach Earth.
- In the Milky Way, the mission will search for water and organic molecules — essentials for life, as we know it — in stellar nurseries, regions where stars are born from gas and dust, as well as disks around stars where new planets could be forming.
- Every six months, SPHEREx will survey the entire sky using technologies adapted from Earth satellites and Mars spacecraft.
- The mission will create a map of the entire sky in 96 different colour bands, far exceeding the colour resolution of previous all-sky maps.
- It also will identify targets for more detailed study by future missions, such as NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, as per US space agency.
- Earlier NASA’s Astrophysics Explorers Program requested proposals for new missions in September 2016.
- In August 2017, nine proposals were submitted, and two mission concepts were selected for further study.
- After a detailed review by a panel of NASA and external scientists and engineers, NASA determined that the SPHEREx concept study offered the best science potential and most feasible development plan.