NASA is working on the next generation of space-based telescopes to replace Hubble and give astronomers and scientists around the world a better understanding of the universe. One of the space telescopes of the future is called Nancy Grace Roman. NASA recently announced that the main mirror of the space telescope, which will collect and focus light, has been completed.
Roman will use a 7.9-foot-diameter lens to capture images of space, with a field of view 100 times that of Hubble, the industry’s standard-setter. Scott Smith, manager of NASA’s Roman Telescope, said the completion of the main mirror was an exciting milestone. Once placed in orbit, the Roman Space Telescope will be able to travel through dust, through vast spaces, and study the universe using infrared light.
The main mirror is crucial for any telescope, and ultimately the level of cosmic detail that astronomers can see is directly related to the lens. The larger the mirror, the more light the telescope can collect, allowing it to distinguish the features seen in the universe in greater detail. Roman uses the same lens size as Hubble, but weighs only a quarter: 410 pounds. The significant weight reduction compared to Hubble’s lenses is due to decades of technological improvements. The telescope will have two scientific instruments, including the Square instrument and the coronal instrument. The Plaza instrument is a 300-megapixel camera that delivers the same resolution as Hubble with nearly 100 times the field of view.
The corona was designed to allow telescopes to see planets nearly a billion times darker than the main star, allowing detailed study of exoplanets and other solar systems.
The Roman will be placed in a favorable position 930,000 miles from Earth, pointing in the opposite direction to the sun.