TechNASA sets sights on the new telescope to find Earth-like planets

NASA sets sights on the new telescope to find Earth-like planets

Conceptual vision of the Habitable Worlds Observatory
Conceptual vision of the Habitable Worlds Observatory
Images source: © NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

7:17 PM EDT, June 8, 2024

NASA is planning a new astrophysical mission that will help find planets similar to Earth. A key element of this mission is the construction of the Habitable Worlds Observatory (HWO) space telescope, which is poised to be the latest and most advanced equipment for detecting habitable planets.

Contemporary space research often focuses on the search for exoplanets, planets orbiting stars outside our Solar System. Discovering these distant worlds helps scientists understand how planets form and evolve and identify potential life-friendly locations.

Based on current exoplanet research, about one in five stars may have a planet similar to Earth suitable for habitation. NASA is working on a new mission to find more such planets. A key component of this mission is the construction of the Habitable Worlds Observatory (HWO). Due to its advanced capabilities, which far exceed those of existing telescopes, NASA also refers to this apparatus as a "super-Hubble."

NASA is building the HWO telescope

The Habitable Worlds Observatory (HWO) will be a large space telescope capable of observing in the ultraviolet, visible, and infrared ranges. It will be the first mission to use a coronagraph to identify Earth-like planets that could sustain life near bright stars like our Sun and study them for signs of life.

The mission is currently in the early stages of planning. The launch of the HWO telescope is scheduled for around 2040, but work on the new equipment has already begun. According to Universe Today, NASA has signed contracts with BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman to research optical systems, modeling infrastructure, mission designs, and the telescope's functions. The contract is worth 17.5 million dollars.

Work on the new functions is set to begin this summer. NASA will oversee the entire process, and the results will enable it to effectively plan the mission development and construction phases.

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