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Session 60 - Next Generation Space Telescope.
Oral session, Tuesday, January 14
As part of the Origins initiative in the Office of Space Science, NASA /GSFC and two large aerospace consortia have studied a wide range of concepts for a large (>4m dia), passively cooled space telescope -- the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The studies adopted the core science goal of studying the earliest epochs of galaxy formation (3 < z < 30). We review the scientific rationale for the mission and summarize the outcome of the three concept studies. All achieve theoretical imaging sensitivities of 1nJy in the near-IR with solar-orbiting telescopes using 6-8m dia. ultra-lightweight primary mirrors. . At wavelengths longer than a few \mum, they offer speed advantages of the order of 10^6 over a large ground based telescope. Aggressive technology development is required in the areas of cryogenic material characterization, replication of large optics, cryogenic optics, and low noise, large format near-IR detectors. We conclude with plans for further involvement by the astronomy community and industry groups. Additional material is presented on the NGST web site, http://saturn1.hst.nasa.gov/ngst/.
Program listing for Tuesday