The US space agency NASA is eyeing towards a greater part of the Universe than before. Therefore, it is planning to launch a new powerful telescope that has the ability to provide the largest picture of the Universe ever seen. This upcoming next-generation telescope space telescope of NASA will have the same depth and clarity as the currently operational Hubble Space Telescope.
The name of the new telescope is WFIRST ( Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope ) and it will be launched in the mid-2020s. NASA said that the WFIRST will function as the Hubble Telescope’s wide-eyed cousin. As per NASA, although both WFIRST and Hubble have almost the same sensitivity, an additional 300 megapixel Wide Field Instrument will be fitted to the WFIRST that can image a space area 100 times larger. That means a single WFIRST image will be equivalent to 100 pictures taken by Hubble.
David Spergel, co-chair of the WFIRST science working group and professor at Princeton University in the US, said, “A picture from Hubble is a nice poster on the wall, while a WFIRST image will cover the entire wall of your house.” NASA said that the wide field view capability of the WFIRST will allow scientists get never-seen-before large images of the vast Universe and from this astronomers can be able to explore some of the greatest mysteries of the cosmos. Also, through WFIRST the scientists might get to know why the expansion of the universe seems to be accelerating.
With the help of its powerful 2.4-meter long mirror and the Wide Field Instrument, the WFIRST will do two important things, one is to map how the matter is structured and distributed across the cosmos and the second one is to measure how the universe has expanded over the time. WFIRST will aim to study galaxies across cosmic time that is from the present to way back in the past when the universe was only about half a billion years old or about 4 percent of its current age.
WFIRST Project Scientist Jeffrey Kruk at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in the US said that to understand how the universe evolved from a hot, uniform gas into stars, planets, and people, they need to study the beginnings of that process by looking at the early days of the universe. NASA informed that the WFIRST will be measuring the matter in hundreds of millions of the faraway galaxies based on phenomena dictated by Einstein’s general theory of relativity.