Going Where No Telescope Could Go Before: Ohio State Leads the Way

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Do you ever wonder what’s out there — in the vast universe? Why the universe is speeding up when it should be slowing down?

The launch of NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) planned for the mid-2020s, designed to map both our galaxy and the distant universe 100 times faster than Hubble, will be our best chance yet to find those answers that could write a new story about the evolution of the universe and our life in it.

As the nation’s only university to have three researchers named leading members of WFIRST’s Science Investigation Teams, the work of Ohio State researchers will have major impact.

Over the coming decade, astronomer Scott Gaudi and astrophysicists Chris Hirata and David Weinberg will help NASA refine the mission and prepare to analyze the extraordinary cosmic maps sent back to Earth.

Scott Gaudi, appointed Principal Investigator of WFIRST’s planetary microlensing team, aims to discover thousands of planetary systems around distant stars using gravitational microlensing, a search technique pioneered at Ohio State by Astronomy Professor Andrew Gould. Watch NASA’s YouTube video, featuring Scott Gaudi.

Weinberg and Hirata were named Co-Investigators on the team designing WFIRST’s single largest program: mapping hundreds of millions of galaxies used to measure the universe’s growth and clustering of dark matter, may answer cosmology’s biggest puzzle — why is the universe speeding up?

Keys to Ohio State’s prominence?

In the words of WFIRST Project Scientist Neil Gehrels, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, “Ohio State has made enormous contributions to WFIRST. David Weinberg, Chris Hirata and Scott Gaudi are world experts in dark energy and exo-planets, which are its two main science areas. After Hubble and the James Webb Space Telescope, WFIRST is going to be NASA’s next great optical and infrared observatory. It would not be moving forward without their seminal work.”


Ohio State Release: Ohio State University researchers play major role in upcoming NASA space telescope mission

More information about NASA’s WFIRST


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