NASA Is Uncovering History Of The Universe With New Telescope
The Big Bang is commonly accepted as the catalyst for existence in our universe, and NASA is aiming to find out more about it with a new telescope.
While the Big Bang may be the reason behind why we’re here, it is unclear exactly what happened when our universe appeared.
Now, thanks to a new telescope called SPHEREx, NASA will uncover what occurred in the microseconds after the Big Bang.
The Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) has unique technology that will probe outer space and allow it to provide researchers with a historical understanding of the universe.
In a statement, NASA detailed the technology and how the telescope will work:
About the size of a subcompact car, the space telescope will use a technique called spectroscopy to break near-infrared light into its individual wavelengths, or colors, just like a prism breaks sunlight into its component colors. Spectroscopy data can reveal what an object is made of, because individual chemical elements absorb and radiate specific wavelengths of light. It can also be used to estimate an object’s distance from Earth, which means the SPHEREx map will be three-dimensional.
It is hoped that the SPHEREx will be able to create a ‘full-sky spectroscopy map in near-infrared’ by observing 102 near-infrared colours. This jump is significant from the data scientists currently use. In fact, Alex Farrington, project manager of SPHEREx, likened the leap forward to ‘going from black-and-white images to colour’.
Through its mapping technology, the telescope is intended to provide a detailed picture of billions of galaxies and help find statistical patterns that give insight into how the universe was created.
The ambitious project still has a fair amount of time before it will be operational. Work on the final design of the project will now begin, with the team aiming for a launch date in 2024 or 2025. With this in mind, it may be a while before the mysteries of the universe begin to unravel before our eyes.
Nonetheless, this looks set to be an exciting mission that will give us insight through a 3D map of the universe. Perhaps more importantly, it may give scientists an understanding of the beginnings of the universe.
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