NASA has chosen Elon Musk’s SpaceX to launch a telescope into orbit for a two-year astrophysics mission which is starting at 2024. It has been delivered by the agency in a press release on Thursday. This mission is called SPHEREx, and NASA will have to bear the cost about $98.8 million for this mission.
NASA said that SPHEREx is a space telescope which will survey the sky in near-infrared light, the light that cannot be seen by the human eye. NASA has also said that data collected by telescope help astronomers understand the creation of galaxies and the evolution of the universe.
NASA said “The mission was due to launch in June 2024, and would blast off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This mission will search for water and organic molecules in areas where stars are formed from gas and dust, and find out if new planets are forming around stars.”
“The mission would “deliver an unprecedented galactic map containing ‘fingerprints’ from the first moments in the universe’s history.” Said by Thomas Zurbuchen, who is an associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
The data from more than 300 million galaxies will be collected as well as the creation of the universe will be explored through the SPHEREx mission. Said SpaceX in a tweet on Thursday
NASA selected a space telescope named SPHEREx for the mission in 2019, per Spaceflight Now. SPHEREx is the latest in a long list of tie-ups SpaceX has with NASA. The most recent was agreed in November, when NASA certified SpaceX to fly astronauts on its Crew Dragon spaceship, making it the first commercial spacecraft ever to receive the certification.