As NASA explores the unknown in air and space, a new mission to survey Ultraviolet light Across the sky will give the agency more insight into how galaxies and stars form. The space telescope, called UVEX (Ultraviolet Explorer), is targeted for launch in the 2030s as NASA’s next Astrophysics Medium Class Explorer mission.

This image shows the heart of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097, as seen by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.  Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Sand, K. ShethThis image shows the heart of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097, as seen by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.  Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Sand, K. Sheth

This image shows the heart of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097, as seen by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Sand, K. Sheth

In addition to performing a highly sensitive all-sky survey, UVEX can quickly pinpoint sources of ultraviolet light in the universe. This will enable it to detect the explosions that occur after the burst of gravitational waves caused by merging neutron stars. The telescope will also have an ultraviolet spectrograph to study starbursts and massive stars.

“NASA’s UVEX will help us better understand the nature of both nearby and distant galaxies, as well as follow dynamic events in our changing universe,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. will do.” “This mission will bring key capabilities in near and far ultraviolet light to our fleet of space telescopes, providing a wealth of survey data that will open new avenues in exploring the mysteries of the universe.”

The telescope’s ultraviolet survey will complement data from other missions conducting extensive surveys this decade, including the Euclid mission led by the ESA (European Space Agency) in collaboration with NASA, and NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope. Which is scheduled to be launched by May 2027. Together, these missions will help create an advanced, multi-wavelength map of our universe.

“With the addition of the innovative new UVEX mission to our portfolio, we will acquire an important legacy collection of data that will be of lasting value to the science community,” said Mark Klampen, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters. “This new telescope will contribute to our understanding of the Universe at multiple wavelengths and will address one of today’s top priorities in astrophysics: studying temporal changes in the Universe.”

After a detailed review by NASA of two Medium Class Explorer and two Missions of Opportunity concept proposals by a panel of scientists and engineers, and an assessment based on NASA’s existing astrophysics portfolio with available resources. UVEX chose the Medium Class Explorer concept to continue development. . The UVEX mission was selected for a two-year mission and will cost approximately $300 million, not including launch costs.

The mission’s principal investigator is Fiona Harrison at Caltech in Pasadena, California. Other institutions involved in the mission include the University of California at Berkeley, Northrop Grumman, and the Space Dynamics Laboratory.

The Explorer program is NASA’s oldest continuing program. The program is designed to provide frequent, low-cost access to space using space science investigations led by the principal investigator associated with the agency’s astrophysics and heliophysics programs.

Since the launch of Explorer 1 in 1958, which discovered Earth’s radiation belts, the Explorer program has launched more than 90 missions, including the Uhuru and Cosmic Background Explorer missions that won Nobel Prizes for their investigators. Caused.

The program is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s Science Mission Directorate, which conducts a wide variety of research and scientific research programs for Earth studies, space weather, the solar system, and the universe.

Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration