NASA Spending Big on Its Next Generation Alien-Hunting Telescope
NASA has been allocated $500 million by the federal government this year to work on its next breakthrough space telescope.
Details of the space agency's 2022 budget were released by Congress on Tuesday, though it is still subject to approval later this month.
In total, NASA was given just over $24 billion—slightly shy of the $24.8 billion it had initially requested.
One $500 million chunk of the budget has been allocated to NASA's upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, which is slated for launch no later than May 2027.
The Roman Space Telescope will be the next generation observatory, designed to look into the universe with a field of view 200 times larger than Hubble's
This means the telescope will be able to create vast panoramas of space that would take Hubble hundreds of years to complete.
NASA hopes that Roman will reveal significant numbers of rocky worlds around distant stars where liquid water might exist.
Its light detectors will be so sensitive that the telescope will be able to count individual photons of light as they arrive.
According to NASA, no other observatory has done this kind of imaging in visible light before and it will provide a vital step towards discovering habitable planets.
In addition, the telescope could also shed light onto the great puzzles of dark energy and dark matter—mysterious properties of the universe that scientists are still boggled by today.