The US space agency has just selected its future mission with which it plans to examine the origins of space and how prevalent are the elements required for life in other galaxies. The mission, known as NASA’s SPHEREx (Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer), would cost $242 million and would take off in 2023.
“I’m really excited about this new mission,” said Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s Administrator. “Not only does it expand the United States powerful fleet of space-based missions dedicated to uncovering the mysteries of the universe, but it is also a critical part of a balanced science program that includes missions of various sizes.”
NASA’s SPHEREx would survey the skies with optical instruments, as well as with tools capable of viewing in near-infrared light, a method which proved successful in finding answers to the many questions regarding the Universe. The mission would observe and explore over 300 million galaxies and more than 100 million stars in Milky Way, our home galaxy.
NASA’s SPHEREx Would Be The Agency’s Future Mission To Explore The Universe
“This amazing mission will be a treasure trove of unique data for astronomers. 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: What made the universe expand so quickly less than a nanosecond after the big bang?” added Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
Once every six months, NASA’s SPHEREx has the mission to examine the skies by using instruments and technologies adapted to Earth satellites and Mars orbiters. The final goal of SPHEREx would be to create a map of the entire sky in 96 different color bands. That would serve as a guide for future missions.
Accordingly, with the help of the maps generated by NASA’s SPHEREx, upcoming space missions such as James Webb Space Telescope and the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope would know where to aim their instruments for more detailed studies.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.