The agency’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) project has overcome key technologies and procedures and officially entered the hardware development and testing phase, NASA’s website reported Tuesday. WFIRST aims to discover new exoplanets and reveal the secrets of dark energy.
This diagram simulates the observation of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) using WFIRST. Photo: NASA website
The WFIRST space telescope’s lens, 2.4 meters in diameter and similar to the Hubble Space Telescope’ resolution, is 100 times the telescope’s, allowing it to detect faint infrared signals throughout the universe, generate huge panoramas of the universe, reveal the secrets of dark energy (which may be the key to solving the mystery of the universe’s expansion), discover new exoplanets, and unlock many of them. His mysteries in astrophysics and planetary science.
WFIRST’s design is now at an advanced stage, using components developed using sophisticated technology, and lessons have been learned from nasa’s James Webb Space Telescope. The James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s “flagship” infrared observation telescope, is scheduled to launch in March next year.
Now, the team will begin building engineering test units and models to complete the final design of the WFIRST mission to ensure that the telescope remains operational during the launch phase and in extreme conditions in space.
WFIRST’s projected development cost of $3.2 billion, plus five years of operational and scientific costs, as well as technical demonstration instruments that can image planets around other stars, will cost up to $3,934 million.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act in FY2020 provides funding for the WFIRST program until September 2020. But the White House’s recent fiscal 2021 budget proposes to stop funding for the WFIRST mission and focus on completing the Webb Space Telescope. The White House says the government has no capacity to advance plans for another multibillion-dollar telescope before the Webb Space Telescope is successfully launched and deployed.