The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States has chosen a new space telescope proposal to research the Milky Way’s recent history of star birth, star death, and chemical element production.
For the uninitiated, NASA’s Astrophysics Explorers Program received 18 telescope proposals in 2019, with four being chosen for mission concept investigations. After a thorough evaluation, NASA decided to proceed with the development of the Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI), a gamma-ray telescope.
“For more than 60 years, NASA has provided opportunities for inventive, smaller-scale missions to fill knowledge gaps where we still seek answers.COSI will answer questions about the origin of the chemical elements in our own Milky Way galaxy, the very ingredients critical to the formation of Earth itself,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said.
COSI will analyze gamma rays from radioactive atoms produced when massive stars exploded to map where chemical elements were formed in the Milky Way. It is expected to launch in 2025 as NASA’s newest small astrophysics project.