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Session 41 - Visible & UV Telescopes.
Display session, Thursday, January 08
Exhibit Hall,

[41.21] The FIRST Mission

T. G. Phillips, J. Zmuidzinas (Caltech), W. D. Langer, C. Lawrence, J. Pearson (JPL)

FIRST is an ESA "Cornerstone" mission currently scheduled for launch in 2005/2006. It will be an observatory-class mission designed to provide extremely high sensitivity over the full submillimeter/FIR spectral range, 85 - 400 microns, which is presently only available through a few partially transparent windows in the Earth's atmosphere. NASA and ESA are currently conducting studies on the details of the mission, with the expectation of NASA participation, which has been encouraged by ESA. The NASA goal is to enhance the technical and science capabilities of the mission to enlarge our knowledge of the origins of galaxies, stars and solar-tpye systems. This will permit the detection and continuum and spectroscopic study of the most distant dusty galaxies (now known to be present to z>4). Large area surveys will be carried out for a range of wavelengths, thus providing a knowledge of the distribution of such objects and their approximate dust spectrum. Follow-up spectroscopic studies of molecular and atomic lines will provide abundance, accurate redshift and kinematic information. In addition, complete spectral information for dust, molecular and atomic features will be available for Milky way objects and for nearby galaxies, giving definitive information for the physics and chemistry of star formation regions. In the currently developing plan, NASA will be responsible for the construction of the telescope and possibly other aspects of the mission, also for critical technical elements of two of the three instruments (BOL and HIFI).

Program listing for Thursday