SPHEREx : SpaceX will launch NASA’s new telescope

SPHEREx : SpaceX will launch NASA’s new SPHEREx telescope. Elon Musk’s SpaceX has contracted the US National Aerospace Agency (NASA) to launch the new SPHEREx space telescope. The new telescope is designed to study distant galaxies, the expansion of the Universe and the search for biogenic molecules, according to the agency’s website. We will tell you all about the new telescope and how it will work.

SpaceX’s choice : NASA selected Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California to provide spectrophotometer launch services for the Universe History, Reionization Era and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) mission.

The total price of the SPHEREx launch to NASA is approximately $ 98.8 million, including launch services and other mission-related fees.

The SPHEREx mission is now aiming to launch by June 2024 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.


The airship will travel into space aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, scheduled to launch in June 2024 from the 4E space launch complex at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launch will be done by the NASA Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. However, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory persistently responsible for overall project management, systems engineering, integration, measurement and mission operations, the bureau said in a statement.

SPHEREx is a planned two-year astrophysical mission to explore the sky in near-infrared light, which, while invisible to the human eye, assists as a powerful tool for answering cosmic questions encompassing the beginning of the Universe and its subsequent development.

It will also look for water and organic molecules – essential for life as we understand it – in regions where stars are produced from gas and dust, acknowledged as stellar nurseries, and discs neighbouring stars where new planets can form. Astronomers will practice this mission to collect over 300 million galaxies and over 100 million stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

The Spectro-Photometer Mission for the Universe’s History, Reionization Era and Ice Explorer (SPHEREx) is a planned two-year mission subsidized in the amount of $ 242 million (not including launch costs).

SPHEREx will explore the sky in optical and near-infrared light, which, while invisible to the human eye, serves as a powerful tool for defending cosmic questions. Astronomers will use this mission to accumulate data on over 300 million galaxies and over 100 million stars in our own Milky Way.


SPHEREx will explore hundreds of millions of galaxies, near and far, some of them taking 10 billion years to reach Earth. In the Milky Way, the mission will study for water and organic fragments – indispensable for life as we understand it – in stellar nurseries, neighbourhoods where stars are born from gas and dust, and in disks around stars anywhere new planets may form.

SPHEREx will examine the entire sky every six months using technology adapted for Earth satellites and interplanetary spacecraft. The mission will create a full-sky map in 96 various colour bands, far exceeding all-sky maps’ colour resolution. It will also identify targets for a more comprehensive study by future missions like NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and Wide-Angle Infrared Observation Telescope.

SPHEREx California Institute of Technology and Jet Propulsion Laboratory will develop SPHEREx payload. Ball Aerospace will supply the spacecraft. The Korea Institute of Astronomy and Space Sciences will offer a non-flying cryogenic test chamber. It will publish the data in the Infrared Data Processing and Analysis Center. In addition to CalTech / JPL and international scientists, the SPHEREx team includes scientists from institutions across the country, including UC Irvine, Ohio State University, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Rochester Institute of Technology, Argonne National laboratories and Johns Hopkins University.

How will SPHEREx work?
The SPHEREx astrophysical mission is scheduled for two years. During this time, the researchers want to use a telescope for the first time to create a spectrometry map of the entire sky in the near-infrared range. In this way, scientists will divide near-infrared light into individual wavelengths or colours – like a prism breaks sunlight into its component colours.

Such research can show what the object is made of since some chemical elements absorb and emit light of a certain length and allow you to determine the object’s distance to the Earth so that the map will be three-dimensional.

By itself, optical spectroscopy is spectroscopy in the optical (visible) wavelength range with adjacent ultraviolet and infrared ranges (from several hundred nanometers to a few microns). This method obtained the overwhelming majority of information about how matter is arranged at the atomic and molecular level, how atoms and molecules perform when combined into condensed substances.

A feature of optical spectroscopy, in comparison with other types of spectroscopy, is that the majority of structurally organized matter (larger than atoms) resonantly interacts with an electromagnetic field precisely in the optical frequency range. Therefore, optical spectroscopy is now very widely used to obtain information about a substance.

Optical spectroscopy originated in 1802 when the Fraunhofer lines were discovered – dark lines in the Sun’s spectrum. These lines were rediscovered and described by Fraunhofer in 1814. In the 60s of the XIX century, Kirchhoff gave them an almost correct interpretation, believing that these are absorption lines due to various gases in the Sun’s atmosphere. A particular line is associated with each gas.


Targeted scientific spectroscopy began in 1853 when Anders Jonas Angström compared the emission lines of gases with various chemical elements. This is how a new method of obtaining information about the composition of substances was born – spectral analysis.

Optical spectroscopy has dramatically influenced the development of physics in general. Quantum mechanics was created and validated in large part through spectroscopic research. It has made quantum electrodynamics based on radio spectroscopy (radio spectroscopy). It is believed that the positions were confirmed experimentally after the Lamb shift was recorded.

The probe is tuned for two years, scanning the sky in near-infrared light, performing a complete review every 6 months.

This light is invisible to us, humans, with the naked eye, but it can allow the apparatus to peers and observe distant galaxies. Using the data obtained from the instrument, scientists aim to survey the entire sky, measuring the unique signatures of galaxies and stars, creating a unique map of the starry sky.