NASA to study secrets of universe with smaller missions

NASA has selected the deployment of four astrophysics for the development of cognitive development in a new system called Pioneers.

“The chief investigators of these theoretical studies brought new ideas, out of the box thinking about the problem of how large astrophysics experiments could be done on a small budget,” said Thomas H. Zurbuchen, co-ordinator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “Each proposed study could do something that no other NASA telescope or goal could do, filling in the gaps that are vital to our understanding of the universe. ”

Here are four concepts were chosen for further study:

Aspera is a SmallSat that will study the evolution of galaxies. The intergalactic medium is a major component of the universe but is measured. Aspera will close this gap, Principal Investigator Carlos Vargas at the University of Arizona.

Pandora is a SmallSat that will study 20 stars and their 39 exoplanets in visible and infrared light. The purpose is to unravel signals from the star and planetary atmospheres. Understanding how changes in starlight affect the measurement of extrasolar planets is an open question in finding habitable planets across the solar system. The main researcher is Elisa Quintana of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

StarBurst is a SmallSat that detects high-energy gamma rays from events such as the coalescence of dense stellar debris called neutron stars. This provides valuable insights into such events, which are also detected by gravitational waves from observatories on Earth. Most heavy metals in the universe, such as gold and platinum, are formed. So far, only one such event has been observed simultaneously with gravitational waves and gamma rays. StarBurst discovers up to 10 per year. The main researcher or the principal investigator is Daniel Kosevsky of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.


PUEO is a balloon mission designed to launch from Antarctica, which detects signals from ultra-high energy neutrinos. Highest energy astrophysical processes such as black hole creation and neutron star merger. Neutrinos travel undisturbed in space, carrying information about events billions of light-years away. PUEO will be the most sensitive investigation of the cosmic ultrahigh-energy neutrinos ever conducted. The lead researcher is Abigail Vieregg of the University of Chicago.

After further definition, these four conceptual studies go through a conceptual study review before being approved for flight.

The Pioneer Program offers innovative experimentation to early and mid-career researchers, and for the first time in space, Or allow you to lead suborbital scientific research.

“Designed to attract young professionals, this program has received 24 great ideas from a diverse cohort. Director of NASA’s Astrophysics Department at NASA headquarters in Washington. Paul Hertz, who refers to the number of innovators in universities, research laboratories, and NASA centers, this affordable price point allows researchers to purchase off-the-shelf spacecraft with small satellite dust removal for earth observation and internet access, telescopes developed by other government agencies You can use it without starting from scratch.

The program itself is an experiment for NASA, and this institution has never requested a proposal for this kind of astrophysics experiment at low-cost limits with these strict constraints. Some concepts, with further research, may require a larger budget. In other words, flights under the Pioneer Program will not be finally approved.

“We don’t know if there is great astrophysics that can be done in a $20 million satellite, but we challenged the community and they sent in a lot of innovative proposals,” Hertz said. “Now, we’re excited to see if they can deliver.”

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