NASA continues development of the Habitable Worlds Observatory, the successor to the JWST

The James Webb Space Telescope has been observing for less than a year but has already demonstrated its potential in terms of new discoveries. Its realization took longer than expected considering that the conception dates back to around the mid-90s and that the launch only took place at the end of 2021. It is, after all, a very complex tool, as never before had been launched . For this the NASA is continuing the development of its successor called Habitable Worlds Observatorywhich will be built starting from concepts LUVOIR and HabEX.

Habitable Worlds Observatory

Clearly we are only at the beginning considering that the launch, barring delays, is expected around 2040. All this time will be needed to complete the design and complete the construction. At least in part you will be able to exploit the knowledge acquired with JWST extension although the new space telescope will be about the same size but more complex and versatile. A new engineering challenge.

Habitable Worlds Observatory and the James Webb Space Telescope

During the 241st meeting of the American Astronomical Society some news about this project was revealed. The new Habitable Worlds Observatory it will not only be dedicated to observation in one type of wavelength but will be able to range from infrared to ultraviolet passing through the visible. This will offer greater versatility of use than JWST extension. The mirrors will also have to be made with greater precision than Webb while the coronagraph could be of a new design.

See also  Cold, dark confusion grips Ukraine after Putin’s missile barrage – POLITICO


In reality, the space agency is pursuing an even more ambitious project. Indeed the new hwo extension it will be one of three new large space telescopes that will join those on Earth to explore the Universe. Among others, a new telescope for the near infrared and one for X-rays will also arrive. This trio has been called with the name of New Great Observatories (with its own dedicated site) and is included in the Great Observatory Technology Maturation Program or GOMaP.

As reported by SpaceNews we currently know that the first of three steps required to complete the program is well underway. This point is of an organizational nature and mostly serves to know “who should do what” in the future. The second point, on the other hand, will concern defining what the scientific objectives will actually be. It will not only be the search for exoplanets but also other types of analysis and data collection. The actual development should only start in 2029.


Among the features of theHabitable Worlds Observatory (HWO) there should be the ability to be refueled in orbit to extend its operational life. Also the main mirror will be based on segments as in the case of JWST. If the NASA were able to approve a different budget, the new telescope could also be launched before 2040. However, it would take 1 billion more a year (up to 2.5 billion dollars) for the next few years and this could lead to the launch by 2035 (with that for near-infrared in 2040 and that for X-rays in 2045 in place of 2047 and 2051, respectively).

See also  Brits abandon streaming services as cost of living squeezes budgets


Source link

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

%d bloggers like this: