AAS 197, January 2001
Session 93. New Technology and its Achievements II
Oral, Wednesday, January 10, 2001, 10:30am-12:00noon, Royal Palm 5/6

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[93.06] PRIME: A Deep Near-infrared Survey Mission Concept

W. Zheng, H.C. Ford, A.F. Davidsen, J.W. Kruk, Z.I. Tsvetanov, A.S. Szalay (JHU), G. Hartig, M. Postman, H.S. Stockman (STScI), R. Thompson (U Arizona), P.K. Shu (GSFC), R. Lenzen, H.-W. Rix (MPIA), D. Mark, D. McGuffey (Swales)

PRIME (The Primordial Explorer) is a proposed mission that has been selected for NASA SMEX concept study. It will carry out a deep sky survey from space in four near-infrared bands between 0.9-3.5 micron. The 0.75m telescope will survey a quarter of the sky to AB magnitude of approximately 24 in 1.5 years. Deeper surveys in selected sky regions are also planned.

PRIME will reach an epoch during which the first quasars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies were formed in the early Universe, discover hundreds of Type-Ia supernovae to be used in measuring the acceleration of the expanding Universe, and detect hundreds of brown dwarfs and even Jupiter-size planets in the vicinity of the solar system. Most of these objects are so rare that they may be identified only in large and deep surveys. PRIME will serve as a pilot mission for the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) supplying rare targets for NGST spectroscopy and deep imaging. Combining PRIME with other surveys (SDSS, GALEX) will yield the largest astronomical database ever built.

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