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El telescopio espacial rumano obtiene su esencia

El telescopio espacial rumano obtiene su esencia

El técnico principal Billy Kim instala una placa de cubierta sobre los detectores del telescopio espacial Nancy Grace Roman de la NASA. Crédito: NASA/Chris Gunn

Roman Space Telescope, has arrived at Ball Aerospace for assembly into the Wide Field Instrument. This system, with 18 detectors and state-of-the-art electronics, will provide high-resolution images for studying dark matter, dark energy, and exoplanets. The complete instrument is expected to be ready for integration into the observatory by Spring 2024, with a launch targeted for May 2027.

The heart of NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope was recently delivered to Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado, for integration into the WFI (Wide Field Instrument). Called the FPS (Focal Plane System), it serves as the core of Roman’s camera. When the mission launches by May 2027, astronomers will use this system to gather exquisite images to help unravel the secrets of dark energy and dark matter, discover exoplanets, and explore many topics in infrared astrophysics.

The FPS is made up of a large detector array and its associated electronics. The detectors were developed by engineers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Teledyne Scientific & Imaging in Camarillo, California. The Goddard team also developed the electronics and assembled the FPS. Each of Roman’s 18 detectors has 16.8 million tiny pixels, which will provide the mission with remarkable image resolution. Through these “eyes,” we will be able to peer through dust and across vast stretches of the cosmos, creating high-resolution panoramas of the universe.

Para saber cómo terminará el universo, debemos saber qué le ha sucedido hasta ahora. Ese es solo un misterio que la próxima misión del Telescopio Espacial Rumano Nancy Grace de la NASA abordará mientras explora el universo distante. La cámara gigante de la nave espacial, el Instrumento de Campo Amplio (WFI), será clave para esta exploración.

“El conjunto de planos focales de Roman es uno de los más grandes jamás volados a bordo de un observatorio espacial”, dijo Mary Walker, directora de Roman WFI en Goddard. “Su creación es el resultado de muchos años de innovación de un equipo profundamente dedicado, un equipo que anticipa con entusiasmo la asombrosa ciencia que resultará de Roman”.

Una vez que el FPS esté instalado en el WFI de la nave espacial, su cámara, los técnicos continuarán construyendo integrando los radiadores del dispositivo.

Para un rendimiento óptimo, los detectores deben funcionar a menos 288 grados[{” attribute=””>Fahrenheit, or minus 178 degrees Celsius,” said Greg Mosby, a research astrophysicist and Roman detector scientist at Goddard. “Roman’s detectors are so sensitive that nearby components in the Wide Field Instrument must also be cooled, otherwise their heat would saturate the detectors, effectively blinding the observatory.” The radiators will redirect waste heat from the instrument’s components away from the detectors out into cold space, ensuring that Roman will be sensitive to faint signals from distant galaxies and other cosmic objects.

After the radiators are installed, Roman’s camera will be complete and ready for thermal vacuum tests this summer. The team expects the entire WFI to return to Goddard in the spring of 2024, where it will ultimately be integrated into the rest of the observatory.

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