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Science And Nature

NASA’s new 3D sky-mapping space telescope gets a custom test chamber

Hardware for NASA's SPHEREx mission lowered through the ceiling into test chamber.

The different parts of NASA’s SPHEREx space telescope are lowered right into a basement laboratory at Caltech in Pasadena, California.(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A custom-built test chamber for a fresh NASA space telescope is here at Caltech in Pasadena to greatly help ready the spacecraft for launch in 2025.

The Spectro-Photometer for the annals of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer, or SPHEREx telescope, is made to develop a unique, 3D map of the complete sky. The survey will map 100 million stars in the Milky Way in addition to out galaxies, star-forming regions, along with other cosmic phenomena.

SPHEREx will carry a wide-field telescope which will let it detect infrared light to map objects but additionally collect valuable data on the composition and age.

Related: SpaceX will launch SPHEREx and solar wind mission for NASA

The James Webb Space Telescope also views the universe in the infrared, the heat-carrying segment of the electromagnetic spectrum, which helps it see even deeper in to the universe than other space telescopes including Hubble.

Both telescopes’ capability to take notice of the sky in the infrared allows them to find the telltale spectral signs of water and organic molecules.

“SPHEREx uses its unique all-sky spectral map to survey for icy biogenic molecules in regions where stars are increasingly being born, chart the cosmic history of galaxy formation, and seek out the signatures of the Big Bang in the 3-D distribution of distant galaxies,” SPHEREx principal investigator Jamie Bock, a professor of physics at Caltech, said in a statement (opens in new tab).

However in order to get ready SPHEREx and its own sensitive instruments for the harsh environment of space, a customized, cylindrical chamber concerning the size of a little SUV has been built by the Korean Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI).

The chamber spent per month crossing the Pacific Ocean on a ship before arriving in California.

Once ready the telescope is defined to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket no sooner than April 2025. Three other missions, including another NASA mission, PUNCH, that will study the solar wind, will undoubtedly be along for the ride.

The analysis of the SPHEREx data will undoubtedly be conducted by way of a team of scientists located at 10 institutions over the U.S. and mission partners in South Korea.. The SPHEREx dataset will undoubtedly be made publicly available.

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Andrew Jones

Andrewis a freelance space journalist with a concentrate on reporting on China’s rapidly growing space sector. He began writingfor Space.com in 2019 and writes for SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, New Scientist among others.Andrewfirst caught the area bug when, as a young child,hesaw Voyager images of other worlds inside our solar system for the firsttime.From space,Andrewenjoys trail running in the forests of Finland.It is possible to follow him on Twitter@AJ_FI (opens in new tab).

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