UCI astrophysicist Asantha Cooray to head NASA group designing future space telescope

NASA has selected UCI astrophysicist Asantha Cooray as community chair of a study group to design and set requirements for a possible successor to the James Webb Space Telescope. The group, which includes scientists and engineers from about 30 leading international research institutions and space agencies, will work over the next three years toward a next-generation spacecraft and far-infrared surveying instrument with enhanced capabilities to detect faint, distant galaxies; study exoplanet systems around the Milky Way; and provide clues about the evolution of our own solar system. “With James Webb expected to be ready for launch in 2018 and operating until 2028, it’s about time we start to think about what the U.S. astronomical community will want as a space telescope in 2030,” said Cooray, an expert in infrared astronomy. “To look deep into the past in a cosmological sense, we need to plan a decade and a half into the future, since space telescopes take many years of design study followed by industrial preparation and actual construction.”

Share.