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Mission Studies & Proposals

IPAC actively participates in concept studies for the next generation of US and international space observatories, contributing its expertise in data science, mission management, technology development, and scientific exploration. Major flagship-class studies supported by IPAC are the Origins Space Telescope (OST), in preparation for the US 2020 Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey, and the Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA). IPAC science staff are involved in envisaging and preparing the science case for these concept studies.

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Origins Space Telescope

Origins Space Telescope (OST) will unveil the hidden side of galaxy and black hole evolution, trace the trail of water from molecular clouds to proto-planetary disks, revolutionize our understanding of planetary system formation, and complete the census of the outer reaches of the Solar System. The science goals and associated measurement requirements for OST are being established by a community-based Science and Technology Definition Team (STDT).

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SPICA: Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics

The Space Infrared telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), a joint ESA-JAXA mission proposed for the 2016 ESA Medium-size mission opportunity (M5). With a 2.5m, actively cooled primary mirror, and a suite of powerful instruments covering mid and far-infrared wavelengths, SPICA will uniquely address a wide range of science, from exoplanets to cosmology, all central to themes in ESA's 2015-2025 Cosmic Vision.

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