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A space-based path to the high definition universe

April 24, 2024
4:05 PM - 5:05 PM
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Pupin 1402

Arlin P. S. Crotts Radical Hypothesis Lecture by Lee Feinberg, NASA GSFC

From the launch and repair of the Hubble Space Telescope to the remarkable performance of the James Webb Space Telescope, our understanding of the universe has been transformed thanks to improvements in wavelength, sensitivity and resolution. The upcoming Roman Space Telescope will further advance space capabilities to include a large field-of-view and improved contrast. The next flagship mission recommended by the Astro2020 Decadal Survey, now called the Habitable Worlds Observatory, will be roughly Webb-sized but with wavelengths similar to Hubble and it will enable both transformative astrophysics and studies of Exo-Earth bio-signatures. But what lies beyond these space telescopes? This talk will review the progress from these past and planned space telescopes and will use this foundation to chart a potential path to the future. It will discuss why space based optical systems are driven by some basic properties like mirror stiffness, diffraction, and rocket size and how the technological path is being blazed for even larger telescopes assembled in space. It will end with a discussion on how imaging interferometry and quantum technologies could enable even better resolution and how all of this could all build on itself incrementally over the coming decades.

Host: David Schiminovich