How Cool is That? Observing the Low Temperature Universe with ORIGINS Space Telescope

What is the status of the ORIGINS Space Telescope? One of four mission concepts being considered as a followup to WFIRST.

Published on 31st Jul, 2018

Hello everybody and welcome to our Future in Space Hangout where every two weeks we take an indepth look at the future of human space flight, the technologies of space and the engineering challenges that face humanity’s future in space exploration and discovery. I want to welcome everyone watching live as well as those of you watching this hangout after the live event is over. My name is Tony Darnell from Deep Astronomy dot space and today we are continuing a series that was started by my cohost, Harley Thronson where we check in with the four main contenders for the next big space-based astronomical observatory and they are: LUVOIR: Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor will tell the story of life by searching for signs of life on exoplanets and exploring the cosmic origins of life. It will have a huge wavelength range from the far ultraviolet to the near infrared and its primary mirror could be up to six times larger than Hubble’s. HABEX: The Habitable Exoplanet Explorer will search for signatures of habitability, including water, oxygen, or ozone. It would also study the early universe and the lifecycle of massive stars. Like LUVOIR, HabEx would be sensitive to ultraviolet, optical, and near-infrared wavelengths. Lynx: Which I guess isn’t an acronym for anything but is the successor to the Chandra X-ray telescope currently up in space and will look a the universe in X-rays. Lynx will have a two orders-of-magnitude jump in sensitivity over Chandra and the European Space Agency’s Advanced Telescope for High-Energy Astrophysics, or Athena, which is due to launch in 2028. It would detect X-rays from black holes lighting up the first galaxies and from young stars and their planetary systems. But our hangout today will focus on the Origins Space Telescope or OST. Our guests today have been working the mission concept of a new space telescope that will probe the early universe, trace the path of water through star and planet formation, and search for signs of life in the atmospheres of exoplanets. Considered a follow-on to the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Herschel Space Observatory, OST would offer 10,000 times more sensitivity than any preceding far-infrared telescope. So our plan is to visit these mission concept teams each year until one of them is selected to see how things are progressing so let me turn this over to my cohost and I’ll let him tell you more about the selection process and when we might expect to hear about a winner.