The telescope will be launched in 2023 and will hopefully answer two key questions regarding the Earth’s galaxy. Named the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) mission, the instrument will try to solve how the universe was created but also how common some of the essential building blocks of life are throughout the galaxy. It will not only map out the key ingredients of the Milky Way Galaxy but also provide crucial answers to some of the biggest scientific mysteries.
Thomas Zurburchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate said: “This amazing mission will be a treasure trove of unique data for astronomers.
“It will deliver an unprecedented galactic map containing ‘fingerprints’ from the first moments in the universe’s history.
“And we’ll have new clues to one of the greatest mysteries in science: What made the universe expand so quickly less than a nanosecond after the big bang?”
The SPHEREx mission will be able to gather and observe data from more than 100 million stars and more than 300 million other galaxies.
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NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said: “Not only does it expand the United States’ powerful fleet of space-based missions dedicated to uncovering the mysteries of the universe, it is a critical part of a balanced science program that includes missions of various sizes.
“I’m incredibly excited about this new mission.”
The instrument will also be able to map water and organic molecules – two fundamental ingredients to human life.
It will cost £188m ($242million) and will spend two years in space following its 2023 launch.
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The news of the mission follows after NASA declared that its Mars rover, Opportunity had lost contact.
The mission was declared over on yesterday after 15 years in space.
On the mission, Mr Zurburchen said: “I’m standing here with a sense of deep appreciation and gratitude to declare the Opportunity mission as complete.
“It transformed our understanding of our planet, everything we do and think about in our planetary neighbourhood with Mars and elsewhere relates to the research from that and the engineering breakthroughs that came from that.”