SpaceX has confirmed that the Super Heavy Starship will be able to launch a LUVOIR space telescope with a mirror over thirty times larger than the Hubble telescope mirror.
The LUVOIR space telescope would enable us to characterize the atmosphere of exoplanets and look for biosignatures.
LUVOIR would also provide up to about 25 km imaging resolution in visible light at Jupiter, permitting detailed monitoring of atmospheric dynamics in Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune over long timescales. It can provide sensitive, high-resolution imaging and spectroscopy of Solar System comets, asteroids, moons, and Kuiper Belt objects that will not be visited by spacecraft in the foreseeable future can provide vital information on the processes that formed the Solar System ages ago. It could help study geysers from the ocean moons of the outer Solar System, in particular Europa and Enceladus, over long timescales.
The tweet Goddard of the LUVOIR inside a SpaceX Starship is another mission designed for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket which might end up with SpaceX.
LUVOIR would be a Large Strategic Science Mission and will be considered for development start sometime after 2020. The LUVOIR Team has produced designs for two variants of LUVOIR: one with a 15-meter diameter telescope mirror (LUVOIR-A) and one with an 8-meter diameter mirror (LUVOIR-B). LUVOIR can observe ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared wavelengths of light.
There is a rendering of the 8-meter LUVOIR-B inside the SpaceX Starship. Christopher Stark, Associate scientist @ Space Telescope Science Institute, says that they have confirmed that the 15-meter diameter LUVOIR-A would also fit.
— NASA Goddard (@NASAGoddard) April 11, 2019
Pictured is #LUVOIR B, but @SpaceX has looked at LUVOIR A as well and it fits (barely). Because LUVOIR is a fundamentally scalable design, there would be no problem fine tuning the aperture to the fairing. https://t.co/e43tiMTGPi
— Christopher Stark (@starkspace) April 11, 2019
In 2016, NASA began considering four different space telescopes for the Large Strategic Science Missions.
They are the
Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx),
Large UV Optical Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR),
Lynx X-ray Observatory, and
Origins Space Telescope (OST).
In 2019 the four teams will turn their final reports over to the National Academy of Sciences, whose independent Decadal Survey committee advises NASA on which mission should take top priority. If funded, LUVOIR would launch approximately in 2039, using a heavy launch vehicle and it would be placed at the Sun–Earth Lagrange 2 point.
SOURCES- NASA, Twitter, SpaceX
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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