Featured Missions & Projects - Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory (667)

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a large space observatory that will operate in an orbit some 1 million miles from Earth. JWST will find the first galaxies that formed in the early universe, connecting the Big Bang to our own Milky Way Galaxy. It will also peer through dusty clouds to see stars forming planetary systems, connecting the Milky Way to our own solar System. Webb's instruments are designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range. The observatory was launched on Dec 25, 2021.
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Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

TESS is an Explorer mission that was selected for development in 2013. Launched on April 18, 2018, TESS will conduct a two-year survey searching ~200,000 bright (V=4-12), nearby stars for transiting exoplanets, including the 1,000 closest red dwarfs similar to our Sun. The survey will focus on G- and K- type stars with apparent magnitudes brighter than 12. Simulations of the TESS mission predict that TESS will find thousands of new exoplanets, including hundreds of small exoplanets, and even a few (~5) rocky planets in the habitable zones of their host stars. With the time-ordered photometric data for these targets, TESS will provide the target list for future follow-up observations of transiting exoplanets. Because the host stars are bright and nearby, they will be ideal for ground-based observations and well suited to transit spectroscopy with JWST.
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Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope

The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, formerly WFIRST, was the top-ranked large space mission in the Astro2010 Decadal Survey. It will obtain a wide-field survey of the sky and observe exoplanets. The survey will cover a region of more than 2,000 square degrees at near-infrared (0.6-2 microns) wavelengths. The Roman Space Telescope will employ three independent techniques to determine the effect of dark energy on the evolution of the universe. The mission will also collect statistics on exoplanets around a large sample of stars and will directly detect exoplanets with a coronograph. In addition, the Roman Space Telescope will survey our galaxy and others nearby to answer key questions about their formation and structure and provide constraints on how galaxies grow. The mission will take approximately 10 years to develop.
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Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a multi-instrument observatory that has dramatically changed humanity's understanding of the universe for over two decades, with dramatic images of stars, planets, and galaxies. Hubble orbits Earth; its position above the atmosphere, which distorts and reduces the light that reaches the surface, gives it a view of the universe that typically surpasses that of ground-based telescopes. HST's various instruments investigate the universe in the visible, ultraviolet, and infrared portions of the spectrum. HST was deployed from the space shuttle Discovery on April 25, 1990. After that, the telescope underwent five servicing missions to repair or upgrade various instruments and systems.
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  • - Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph
  • - Wide Field Camera 3
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Pandora is a SmallSat that will study 20 stars and their 39 exoplanets in visible and infrared light. It is aimed at disentangling the signals from stars and planetary atmospheres. Understanding how changes in starlight affects measurements of exoplanets is an outstanding problem in the search for habitable planets beyond the solar system.
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