NASA's Roman Space Telescope ground system clears major review
NASAs Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope's ground system, which will make data from the spacecraft available to scientists and the public, has just successfully completed its preliminary design review.
The plan for science operations has met all of the design, schedule, and budget requirements, and will now proceed to the next phase: building the newly designed data system, NASA said on Friday.
"This is an exciting milestone for the mission," said Ken Carpenter, the Roman ground system project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
"We are on track to complete the data system in time for launch, and we look forward to the ground-breaking science it will enable."
When it launches in 2025, the Roman Space Telescope will create enormous panoramic pictures of space in unprecedented detail.
The mission's wide field of view will enable scientists to conduct sweeping cosmic surveys, yielding a wealth of new information about the universe.
Roman will have the same resolution as the Hubble Space Telescope but capture a field of view nearly 100 times larger.
Scientists expect the spacecraft to collect more data than any of NASA's other astrophysics missions.
Hubble has gathered 172 terabytes of data since its launch in 1990.
Roman will gather data about 500 times faster than Hubble, adding up to 20,000 terabytes (20 petabytes) over the course of its five-year primary mission.
If this data were printed, the stack of papers would tower 530 kilometres high after a single day.
By the end of Roman's primary mission, the stack would extend well beyond the Moon.
Such a vast volume of information will require NASA to rely on new processing and archival techniques.
Scientists will access and analyse Roman's data using Cloud-based remote services and more sophisticated tools than those used by previous missions.
All of Roman's data will be publicly available within days of the observations -- a first for a NASA astrophysics flagship mission, the US space agency said.
This is significant because Roman's colossal images will often contain far more than the primary target of observation.
Since scientists everywhere will have rapid access to the data, they will be able to quickly discover short-lived phenomena, such as supernova explosions.
Detecting these phenomena quickly will allow other telescopes to perform follow-up observations, NASA said.