You can never have too powerful of a telescope, and now NASA is working on its next future exploration project – the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope also known as WFIRST, which will have a view 100 times larger than the Hubble Space Telescope, but will be able to take Hubble-quality images.
WIFRST, as NASA explains, will be a tool that researchers will use to explore the mystery of dark matter in our universe. Its view will potentially provide astronomers with the answers they’re looking for in terms of habitable planets outside of our solar system, and may also help us understand how we all got here in the first place.
“WFIRST has the potential to open our eyes to the wonders of the universe, much the same way Hubble has,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters in Washington.
"This mission uniquely combines the ability to discover and characterize planets beyond our own solar system with the sensitivity and optics to look wide and deep into the universe in a quest to unravel the mysteries of dark energy and dark matter.”
Because of the significantly larger viewing angle, WFIRST will make space exploration much more efficient, allowing astronomers to perform cosmic “accounting” in a “much shorter amount of time.” Of course, these benefits are great because it means researchers will have more time to discover great things about our universe.
It’s also going to allow astronomers to observe changes in our universe much more efficiently, and help us to explain the physics of some of the space’s deepest and darkest secrets that we have yet to explain completely.
WFIRST is scheduled to launch into space some time in the 2020’s, but before then, NASA is also preparing its James Webb Space Telescope, which in itself is more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope and is scheduled to launch in 2018. Teams just finished building the telescope's primary mirror, and the heart of the telescope also recently underwent cryogenic testing.
Space exploration is about to get much more serious with this new technology. Astronomers aren’t playing around anymore.