20 May 2020
NASA has named its next-generation space telescope under development, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), in honor of Nancy Grace Roman, NASA's first chief astronomer, who paved the way for space telescopes focused on the broader universe. The newly named Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope—or Roman, for short—is set to launch in the mid-2020s.
Considered the "mother" of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, which launched 30 years ago, Nancy Grace Roman tirelessly advocated for new tools that would allow scientists to study the broader universe from space. She left behind a tremendous legacy in the scientific community when she died in 2018. "It is because of Nancy Grace Roman's leadership and vision that NASA became a pioneer in astrophysics and launched Hubble, the world's most powerful and productive space telescope," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "I can think of no better name for WFIRST, which will be the successor to NASA's Hubble and Webb Telescopes."
Roman is designed to be able to settle essential questions in the areas of dark energy, exoplanets, and infrared astrophysics. All telescope time and all data are available to the wider astronomical community for its use in conducting major surveys and general observer projects. The Roman project passed a critical programmatic and technical milestone in February, giving the mission the official green light to begin hardware development and testing.
Read more about the naming of Roman at https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-telescope-named-for-mother-of-hubble-nancy-grace-roman or visit https://roman.gsfc.nasa.gov.
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