NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, which has been delayed several times, has reached a major milestone ahead of its expected 2027 launch to search for rogue states that may contain life.
All design and development work has been completed on the telescope, which was renamed last year Nancy Grace Roman, one of the first women to work at NASA and a central figure in the development of the Hubble telescope.
The telescope, which will cost more than $3 billion, will be used to look into deep space, looking at the infrared version of the universe.
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NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope has reached an important milestone. All design and development work on the telescope has been completed
This telescope is expected to find rogue planets (pictured), including a “significant number of rocky worlds in and outside the region where liquid water may exist”
This will give astronomers a wider field of view and be able to observe more planets, galaxies and stars.
In addition to using infrared to find more galaxies and stars, the Roman telescope is widely expected to find “a significant number of rocky worlds within and beyond the region where liquid water may exist,” a statement said.
Roman’s capabilities allow him to look at the same infrared resolution that Hubble has, but 200 times greater.
It will also be able to conduct space explorations that would take “hundreds of years” with Hubble, the statement said.
It will have a nearly two-meter-wide mirror that will reflect stellar light to image sensors for processing.
The telescope is being worked on by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, NASA JPL and Caltech.
“After seeing our extensive hardware testing and advanced modeling, an independent review panel has confirmed that the observatory we designed will work,” said Julie McEnery, senior project scientist at Roman Space Telescope in the pronunciation.
“We know what it will look like and what it will be capable of. Now that the foundation has been laid, the team is excited to continue building and testing the observatory they envisioned.”
Work on the project began in 2011, and in February 2020 it passed a series of final design milestones and was approved for hardware testing to ensure durability in orbit.
“Now that this review is complete, we are entering the exciting phase of assembling and testing the Roman hardware that we plan to begin testing,” added Jackie Townsend, deputy project manager.
“When all our flight hardware is ready in 2024, we’ll conduct the System Integration Review and integrate the Roman observatory. Finally, we will test the entire observatory in environments that simulate the launch and our orbit to make sure Roman works as designed.”
The mission is scheduled to launch by May 2027.
In May 2020, the telescope’s name was changed in honor of Nancy Grace Roman of the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope.
In May 2020, the telescope’s name was changed in honor of Nancy Grace Roman (pictured). She organized a large gathering of astronomers and engineers from around the country to create a plan for what would become the Hubble telescope, and in 1978 she helped convince Congress to approve the $36 million development.
Roman began her career with spectral classification, using powerful telescopes to separate stellar light into a spectrum and using the color information to calculate the size and distance of each star.
In 1959, she joined NASA’s Office of Space Science as chief of astronomy and relativity.
She was an early champion of the idea of orbiting a large telescope to collect light wave data from deep space that could not be detected at ground level due to atmospheric interference.
She organized a large gathering of astronomers and engineers from around the country to plan for what would become the Hubble telescope, and in 1978 she helped convince Congress to approve the $36 million development.
WHO WAS NANCY GRACE ROMEIN?
Nancy Grace Roman was one of the first women to work at NASA and a central figure in the development of the Hubble telescope.
She was born in Nashville, Tennessee on May 16, 1925.
As a child she was attracted to the study of space. “I was just fascinated.” Roman said in a short NASA documentary.
“I blamed my mom for always taking me out and showing me the constellations and showing me the northern lights and stuff like that.”
In fifth grade she organized an astronomy club with her classmates, and in seventh grade she decided to pursue a career as an astronomer, knowing she would face resistance in the male-dominated field.
“What lady would take math instead of Latin?” she remembered a high school counselor telling her when she shared her aspirations.
Roman received a Bachelor of Science in astronomy from Swarthmore College and a PhD from the University of Chicago.
She had hoped to pursue a career as an academic researcher, but realized it was unlikely she would ever qualify for a tenured position or have access to the same resources as her male colleagues.
“I certainly didn’t get any encouragement,” she recalls. “From the beginning, I was told that women couldn’t be scientists.”
In 1955 she decided to take a job at the US Naval Research Laboratory, and in 1959 she became one of the first group of employees to join NASA, as chief of astronomy and relativity in the Office of Space Science, just six months after the agency had been formed.
Like NASA, Roman pushed for the development of an orbital telescope to measure cosmic rays in space that would otherwise be impossible to detect on Earth due to atmospheric interference.
Nancy Roman Grace initially wanted to focus on academic research, but after realizing that sexism would be a major obstacle to getting a permanent position, she went to work for the US Naval Research Laboratory and then NASA.
She contributed to the development of four orbiting astronomical observatories between 1966 and 1972, and helped defend the International Ultraviolet Explorer, a joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency launched in 1978 and collected that were used in the first major study of stellar winds.
Roman also played a pivotal role in convincing Congress to fund the development of the $36 million Hubble telescope.
In 1998, Hubble’s chief scientist Ed Weiler described her as “the mother of the Hubble Space Telescope.”
She died of natural causes on December 25, 2018 – at the age of 93.