University of Arizona to lead telescopic mission with NASA

The Aspera mission is designed to get more information on the mysteries of galaxies

University of Arizona to lead telescopic mission with NASA
UArizona will lead NASA's space telescopic mission to study galaxies like never before. (Source: University of Arizona)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - NASA has selected the University of Arizona to lead a mission that will help understand the evolution of galaxies.

Carlos Vargas, a post-doctoral researcher at the university’s Steward Observatory, will lead NASA’s Aspera mission and work with a team to launch a telescope to space in late 2024.

The space telescope is currently in the design process and will be able to see ultraviolet light, which is invisible to the human eye, and will allow researchers to observe galaxy processes that have remained unseen until now.

The Aspera mission seeks to solve a longstanding mystery about the way galaxies form, evolve and interact with each other; and it’s goal is to provide the first direct observations of the vast ‘oceans’ of low-density gas that permeate and surround individual galaxies.

“As telescopes have become more sensitive and have allowed us to discover more exotic types of gases, we now realize there is tons of stuff in between galaxies that connects them,” said Vargas. “Galaxies are undergoing this beautiful dance in which inflowing and outflowing gases balance each other.”

The mission is designed to home in on missing information that astronomers know is out there, but haven’t been able to get.

“Aspera is an exciting mission because it will lead us to discover the nature of mysterious warm-hot gas around galaxies,” said Haeun Chung, a postdoctoral research associate at Steward Observatory.

The Aspera telescope will be the only instrument in space capable of observing the ultraviolet spectrum, with the exception of the Hubble Space Telescope, which has surpassed its expected mission lifespan by many years.

To read more about the University’s involvement in the Aspera mission, click [HERE].

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