February 18, 2016: After years of preparatory studies, NASA is formally starting an astrophysics mission designed to help unlock the secrets of the universe the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST). WFIRST will image large regions of the sky in near-infrared light to answer fundamental questions about dark energy and the structure and evolution of the universe. It will also find and characterize planets beyond our solar system, and as a general-purpose observatory, revolutionize many other astrophysical topics. WFIRST will have a mirror the same size as Hubble's, but it will have a 100 times wider view of space. Slated for launch in the mid-2020s, it will complement the capabilities of NASA's other major astrophysical observatories.
WFIRST is managed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, with
participation by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California; the Space
Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland; the Infrared Processing and
Analysis Center (IPAC), also in Pasadena; and a science team comprised of members from
U.S. research institutions across the country. STScI will be a partner on the WFIRST
science operations and will focus during the mission formulation phase on the observation
scheduling system, wide-field imaging data processing system, and the data archive.
To learn more about the WFIRST mission and STScI, join a live Hubble Hangout discussion with scientists at 3:00 p.m. EST on Thurs., Feb. 18, at http://hbbl.us/y6I.
Illustration Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Conceptual Image Lab