Scientists are studying how the Milky Way was evolved. In a bid to further advance the study, NASA has selected a proposal for a new space telescope. The observatory will allow scientists to study star birth, death, and chemical elements among others. The US space agency said that the new telescope will be called the Compton Spectrometer and Imager. It is a gamma-ray telescope. Astronomers hope that the instrument will provide a breakthrough in the study of the recent history of the Milky Way evolution. As per the proposal, the telescope will be launched in 2025. NASA said that it will a part of the agency’s latest small astrophysics mission.
According to NASA, its Astrophysics Explorers Program in 2019 had received 18 proposals for a new telescope. The agency, however, selected only four proposals. The proposals were then taken into consideration for advanced studies. Scientists and engineers undertook an exercise to review the studies in detail. Based on their submission, the agency selected COSI. It means that NASA has paved the way for the work on the development of the telescope to continue. The agency expects that the new telescope will be able to answer questions related to the evolution of chemical elements in the galaxy. Chemical elements are critically crucial to the formation of planets including the Earth.
The telescope will study gamma rays emanating from radioactive atoms. These atoms were produced when massive stars exploded. The telescope will map where these chemical elements were formed. It will also collect data about the mysterious origin of positrons. NASA said that the mission will cost USD 145 million. This excludes that cost for the launch. The agency will select a launch provider later. The team behind the new telescope spent decades in finding a technology to better understand the Milky Way’s evolution. NASA had in 1991 launched the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. This was NASA’s one of four Great Observatories that it launched to explore the sky.