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.


Infrared SmallSat for Cluster Evolution Astrophysics

ISCEA (Infrared SmallSat for Cluster Evolution Astrophysics) is a small space mission that will study the evolution of the Universe during the peak of galaxy formation. It was selected by NASA for a mission concept study in September 2018.

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Joint Survey Processing

Joint Survey Processing (JSP) is aimed at enabling science that requires pixel-level combination of data from the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, Euclid, and the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope.

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Ultraviolet Explorer

The Ultraviolet Explorer (UVEX) has been proposed to NASA as a Medium Explorer (MIDEX), launching no earlier than 2027. UVEX would undertake a synoptic survey of the entire sky in the near-UV and far-UV, probing the dynamic universe with a sensitivity more than 50 times better than GALEX. UVEX would also have a powerful broadband spectroscopic capability. UVEX would address fundamental questions from the Astro2020 Decadal Survey, and study the evolution of low-metallicity, low-mass galaxies. UVEX time-domain surveys could probe the aftermaths of gravitational wave-discovered compact object mergers, discover fast UV transients, and diagnose the early stages of explosive phenomena.

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Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Characterization of Planets and their Environments

UV-SCOPE is a proposed UV spectroscopic mission to characterize exoplanet atmospheres and their environments. UV-SCOPE is led by PI Evgenya Shkolnik (ASU) in partnership with NASA-JPL, Ball Aerospace, LASP, and IPAC. The mission would observe approximately 200 young and old exoplanet-hosting systems in the far and near-UV (0.12-0.40 um) spectroscopically to determine the cause of atmospheric loss in exoplanets, the composition of the exoplanet atmospheres, and to measure the time-variability of the stellar UV flux that affects the exoplanets that orbit the stars.

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