April 2019 • 2019JATIS...5b0901F
Abstract • Far-infrared astronomy has advanced rapidly since its inception in the late 1950s, driven by a maturing technology base and an expanding community of researchers. This advancement has shown that observations at far-infrared wavelengths are important in nearly all areas of astrophysics, from the search for habitable planets and the origin of life to the earliest stages of galaxy assembly in the first few hundred million years of cosmic history. The combination of a still-developing portfolio of technologies, particularly in the field of detectors, and a widening ensemble of platforms within which these technologies can be deployed, means that far-infrared astronomy holds the potential for paradigm-shifting advances over the next decade. We examine the current and future far-infrared observing platforms, including ground-based, suborbital, and space-based facilities, and discuss the technology development pathways that will enable and enhance these platforms to best address the challenges facing far-infrared astronomy in the 21st century.