In a 163-page report, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) recently made NASA a proposal of building the world’s largest space telescope, which would be 100 times more powerful than Hubble and five times as large.
If the space agency agrees on the High-Definition Space Telescope’s construction and Congress approves the $10 billion project, the new space telescope would be put to orbit around year 2030. The HDST will be also a proper replacement for NASA’s Hubble which celebrated its 25th anniversary on April, 23, this year.
According to AURA, the new space telescope would be five times as large as Hubble, and have a 39-inch-wide mirror. Its accuracy would allow it to investigate the atmospheres of distant exoplanets orbiting stars outside our solar system.
AURA academics provided details on the telescope in their recently submitted report called “From Cosmic Birth to Living Earth.” The authors, who featured scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Washington, also provided some proposals on how American astronomy should look like in the following years. In their report, researchers were especially interested in alien life search and studies on the Universe’s evolution.
Although the $10 billion price of the telescope may be a major obstacle, report’s authors argue that the new tool would allow scientific community to find some answers to decade-old questions.
A research team from the American Museum of Natural History firmly believes that there is life beyond Earth’s surface. They argue that the HDST would be powerful enough to trace signatures of life that are located millions of light-years away.
If NASA agrees and Congress approves the necessary funding, the new instrument would be launched sometime around 2030. Proponents acknowledged that in projects this huge NASA usually needs “years” to grant its final approval. This happened in the case of other super-telescopes, as well. Moreover, AURA academics know that NASA has other missions to take care of at the moment, so the project may be delayed even more.
Matt Mountain, head of the AURA, said in a recent press release that he has a feeling that the current generation of astrophysicists would “make a monumental discovery that will change mankind forever.” Mr. Mountain added that the HDST can help humanity learn whether or not we are alone in the Universe.
But the researcher acknowledged that such ambitious goal will not be possible without help from other countries’ space agencies and tech researchers.
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