The new mission will unlock the universe's ultraviolet mysteries

NASA's Ultraviolet Explorer (UVEX), set for a 2030 launch, aims to advance our understanding of the universe by conducting a sensitive all-sky survey in ultraviolet light. Credit:

NASALaunching in 2030, the UVEX mission will conduct a groundbreaking ultraviolet light survey of the entire sky, providing new insights into galaxy evolution, starbursts and cosmic events, improving our multi-wavelength understanding of the universe.

As NASA explores the unknown in wind and space, a new mission to study ultraviolet light across the entire sky will give the agency more insight into how galaxies and stars form. A space telescope called UVEX (UltraViolet EXplorer) is targeted for launch in the 2030s as NASA's next astrophysics medium-class explorer mission.

In addition to conducting highly sensitive all-sky surveys, UVEX can quickly pinpoint sources of ultraviolet light in the universe. This will help catch outbreaks that follow outbreaks Gravitational waves Caused by merging neutron stars. The telescope will also carry an ultraviolet spectrum to study starbursts and massive stars.

Unlocking the secrets of the cosmos

„NASA's UVEX will help us better understand the nature of nearby and distant galaxies and follow dynamic events in our changing universe,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. „This mission will bring important capabilities in the near and far ultraviolet to our space telescopes, providing a wealth of exploratory data that will open new avenues in exploring the mysteries of the universe.”

The telescope's ultraviolet survey will complement data from other missions conducting extensive surveys this decade, including the ESA (European Space Agency)-led Euclid mission with contributions from NASA and NASA's Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, which will launch in May 2027. These missions will help create a modern, multi-wavelength map of our universe.

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A legacy for future science

„With the innovative new UVEX mission joining our portfolio, we will gain an important legacy archive of data of lasting value to the scientific community,” said Mark Clampin, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters. „This new telescope will contribute to our understanding of the Universe at many wavelengths and address one of the top priorities in astrophysics today: studying rapid changes in the Universe.”

After an extensive review of two medium-class explorer and two opportunity concept proposals by a panel of scientists and engineers, and an evaluation based on NASA's existing astrophysics portfolio, NASA selected the UVEX medium-class explorer concept to continue development. . The UVEX mission was selected for a two-year mission and cost of approximately $300 million, including launch costs.

Fiona Harrison at Caltech in Pasadena, California was the principal investigator on the work. Other institutions involved in the work include the University of California at Berkeley, Northrop Grumman and the Space Dynamics Laboratory.

A legacy of NASA's Explorers program

The Explorers Program is NASA's oldest continuing program. The program is designed to provide frequent, low-cost access to space using principal investigator-led space science studies associated with the agency's astrophysics and solar physics programs.

Launched in 1958 by Explorer 1, which discovered Earth's radiation belts, the Explorers program has launched more than 90 missions, including the Uhuru and Cosmic Background Explorer missions, which have led to Nobel Prizes for their investigators.

The program is administered by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center for the Science Mission Directorate, which conducts a variety of research and scientific exploration programs for Earth exploration, space weather, the solar system, and the universe.

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