AAS 202nd Meeting, May 2003
Session 49 Future Optical/UV Astronomy from Space: Science and Mission Concepts
Topical Oral, Wednesday, May 28, 2003, 2:30-4:00 and 4:15-6:00pm, 204

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[49.02] The Hubble Science Legacy Workshop

R.C. Kennicutt (University of Arizona)

At the end of this decade the Hubble Space Telescope is expected to complete its 20-year mission, and planning has begun on a successor facility optimized for Hubble's primary capabilities-- spectroscopy and diffraction-limited imaging at visible and ultraviolet wavelengths. The NASA Origins Roadmap has targeted such a telescope for development in the 2015--2020 time frame. Last year AURA, NASA, and ESA co-sponsored a workshop at the University of Chicago: ``Hubble's Scientific Legacy: Future Optical/Ultraviolet Astronomy from Space." More than 130 scientists met to identify major scientific breakthroughs that could be achieved with a future optical-UV telescope, and define the instrumental requirements and technical challenges needed to make such a facility a reality. The conference proceedings and a summary white paper are intended to serve as springboards for further discussion and planning by NASA and the astronomical community.

The scientific promise of an HST successor is wide-ranging and inspiring, including the direct detection of Earth-like planets and protoplanetary disks around nearby stars; detailed mapping and tomography of the intergalactic medium, the gaseous disks and halos of galaxies, and their interfaces; studies of stellar populations and black holes in the central bulges of nearby galaxies; direct measurement of the assembly of galaxies and their central black holes, and precision cosmological tests. The same telescope(s) would enable a host of other applications in galactic, stellar, and solar system astrophysics, and open a deep discovery space for problems that we cannot anticipate 15 years in advance. The key enabling capabilities needed to achieve these objectives-- precision optics of 4--8~m aperture, high-throughput ultraviolet spectroscopy, and coronagraphic imaging-- will require targeted technology investments in lightweight optics, detectors, coatings, wavefront control, coronography, and control systems, as well as consideration of a range of mission concepts and deployment strategies.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #3
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.