NASA Picks Elon Musk’s SpaceX To Help Map The Creation Of The Universe
NASA wants to create the most detailed map of the universe ever seen, but it needs the help of SpaceX to do this.
The SPHEREx telescope intends to find out what happened seconds after the big bang, and give historical insight into the formation of our universe. However, the plans to create a ‘full-sky spectroscopy map in near-infrared’ will not be done easily and NASA has decided to work with SpaceX on the project.
SpaceX has announced that it will be collaborating with NASA, using the Falcon 9 to launch the SPHEREx into space.
The project is set to cost $98.8 million, and the telescope will spend two years collecting data about the universe with its advanced technology. It is hoped that with this investment, the launch can happen ‘as early as June 2024 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.’
In a statement, NASA detailed the technology in SPHEREx:
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.
By using spectroscopy data, NASA wants to be able to ‘gather data on more than 300 million galaxies, as well as more than 100 million stars in our own Milky Way galaxy.’ This would give researchers further insight into the nature of the universe and could lead to unexpected discoveries.
The move of NASA to work with SpaceX to create the most comprehensive 3D map of the universe continues a partnership between the two space agencies. This included SpaceX being certified by NASA to become the first commercial space launch to dock at the International Space Station.
Moving forward, many will be interested in seeing if the two agencies can uncover the history of our galaxy and gain insight into the seconds following the big bang. With this in mind, many will be excited to see the telescope launch and anticipate its eventual findings.
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