NASA is planning to launch a new space telescope by 2023 that will try to answer two burning questions that have been bugging the humanity for centuries:
Question 1: What were the first moments in the history of Universe? In other words, how did the universe expand so quickly (in less than a nanosecond) after the big bang?
Question 2: How common are the ingredients of life — water and organic molecules — in the Milky Way?
Now let’s have a look at a few facts and things about the the “Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx)”:
1) The main objective of the telescope is to study both optical as well as the near-infrared light region, which can provide answers to many cosmic mysteries despite not being visible to the human eye.
NASA believes that with the help of SPHEREx, it can gather information on more than 300 million galaxies, and over 100 million stars in the Milky Way itself.
2) SPHEREx will survey hundreds of millions of galaxies near and far, some so far away that their light has taken 10 billion years to reach Earth.
3) Reports suggest that the telescope would serve on a 2-year mission, which would cost NASA at least $242 million.
4) Notably, every 6 months, SPHEREx will survey the ‘entire sky’ using technologies adapted from Earth satellites and Mars spacecraft.
5) Once the telescope has gathered all the data, a map of the entire sky will be made, which would comprise of as many as 96 different color bands, far exceeding the color resolution of all previous sky maps. Through this map, the astronomers will try to establish the “first moments” in the history of the universe.
In addition, the telescope will help identify regions that require a deeper study by NASA’s future ambitious projects like James Webb Space Telescope and Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope.