The new NASA space telescope, whose launch is expected in about five years, is named after a woman. She will be called Nancy Grace Roman, as the astronomer considered the “mother” of the Hubble space telescope.
The new telescope will have the task of searching for planets found in other solar systems and investigating astronomical mysteries, such as dark energy that would occupy 70% of the universe and whose existence has been hypothesized to explain the expansion of the ‘universe.
Born on May 16, 1925 in Nashville, Tennessee, and died in 2018, Nancy Grace Roman spent 21 years at NASA developing and launching space observatories that studied the Sun, deep space and Earth’s atmosphere. However, his most famous achievement is having worked on developing the concepts behind the Hubble Space Telescope, which has just spent its thirtieth year in orbit and was the first of NASA’s great space observatories.
Roman was also the first head of NASA’s astronomy sector, becoming the first woman to fill an executive role at the agency.
“It is thanks to Nancy Grace Roman’s leadership and vision that NASA has become a pioneer in astrophysics and launched Hubble, the most powerful and productive space telescope in the world,” said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.
“I can’t think of a better name – he added – for the successor of NASA’s Hubble and Webb telescopes.”
The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, which had hitherto been called Wfirst (Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope), has a primary mirror 2.4 meters in diameter and will observe an area of the sky 100 times larger than that observed by Hubble.
This means that a single image of the Roman space telescope will be the equivalent of 100 Hubble images. The project has recently received green light for the development and testing phase, to ensure that the instrument will withstand the extreme conditions of launch and space.
(Unioneonline / v.l.)