Wfirst_space
Wfirst_logo

Overview: The Wide Field InfraRed Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is a NASA observatory designed to explore the Universe in search of answers to fundamental questions about dark energy, exoplanets, and infrared astrophysics. The telescope has a 2.4 m primary mirror (the same size as the Hubble Space Telescope) but will have a field of view that is 100 times greater than the Hubble infrared instrument (WFC3), capturing more of the sky at once. The primary instrument, the Wide Field Instrument, will measure light from a billion galaxies over the course of the mission lifetime and will perform a microlensing survey of the inner Milky Way to find ~2,600 exoplanets. The Coronagraph Instrument will directly image ice and gas giant exoplanets. WFIRST is designed for a 6 year mission and is expected to launch in the mid 2020s.

IPAC is playing a major role in the WFIRST mission by developing and curating telescope instrument and simulation efforts, and engaging the greater scientific community in preparing for science with WFIRST.  IPAC also has a major role in the WFIRST ground system, sharing the WFIRST science center duties with the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI).  In particular, IPAC is responsible for operations, data processing and community outreach for the Coronagraph Instrument (CGI), and high-level data processing (including alert detection and publication) and community outreach for exoplanet microlensing with the Wide Field Instrument (WFI).  Along with dedicated dark energy and exoplanet surveys, WFIRST will have a significant Guest Observer (GO) and archival Guest Investigator (GI) program - the GO program is expected to account for up to 25% of the mission.  IPAC will implement the GO and GI programs for WFIRST.
 
A number of IPAC scientists are also members of the WFIRST Formulation Science Working Group (FSWG), WFIRST Prepatory Science (WPS) teams, and WFIRST Science Investigation Teams (SITs):  
  • Roc Cutri and Rachel Akeson are FSWG members. 
  • Chas Beichman, Peter Capak, Sean Carey, David Ciardi, George Helou, Davy Kirkpatrick, Harry Teplitz, Schuyler van Dyk, and Yun Wang are members of four of the twelve WFIRST SIT's, focusing on the discovery and characterization of exoplanets with microlensing and direct detection techniques, and understanding dark energy with Type-Ia supernovae and Cosmology with the WFIRST High Latitude Survey (HLS). 
  • Peter Capak is the PI of one of the WPS teams studying the calibration of photometric redshifts for WFIRST
  • Yun Wang was also a member of the WFIRST Science Definition Team (SDT), which submitted their final report in 2015.