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NASA ナンシー グレース ローマン宇宙望遠鏡検出器

主任技術者のビリー・ケイムは、NASA のナンシー・グレース・ローマン宇宙望遠鏡の検出器にカバー プレートを取り付けます。 クレジット: NASA/クリス・ガン

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.

宇宙がどのように終わるのかを知るためには、これまで宇宙に何が起こったのかを知る必要があります。 これは、NASA の今後のナンシー グレース ローマン宇宙望遠鏡ミッションが、遠い宇宙を探索する際に取り組む謎の 1 つにすぎません。 宇宙船の巨大なカメラである広視野計器(WFI)は、この探査の基礎となります。

「ローマンの焦点面アレイは、これまで宇宙ベースの天文台に搭載された中で最大のものの1つです」とゴダード社のローマンWFIマネージャー、メアリー・ウォーカー氏は述べた。 「その創造は、ローマンがもたらす驚異的な科学を熱心に期待している非常に献身的なチームによる長年の技術革新の成果です。」

FPS が宇宙船の WFI (カメラ) に取り付けられると、技術者は機器のラジエーターを統合して構築を続けます。

「最適なパフォーマンスを得るには、検出器をマイナス 288 度で動作させる必要があります」[{” 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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