NASA is ready to move forward on a new telescope that will have 100 times the field of view of the Hubble Space Telescope and will use old spy-telescope hardware.
The new mission, called the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), is expected to launch in the mid-2020s. It will aim to help scientists better understand dark energy, dark matter, planets around other stars and the universe’s evolution. NASA announced the WFIRST telescope with a new video to unveil the mission.
The WFIRST mission has been in preparatory studies for years. It received increased public attention when the National Reconnaissance Office (a U.S. intelligence agency) made the surprise decision to give NASA two Hubble-class spy telescopes in 2012, which fit the mission’s parameters. On Wednesday, (Feb. 17), NASA’s Agency Program Management Council made the ultimate decision to pursue the WFIRST program, according to a statement.