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Proceedings Paper

Scientific metrics for the Next-Generation Space Telescope
Author(s): John C. Mather; Eric H. Smith; Hervey S. Stockman
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Paper Abstract

As part of NASA's Origins theme, the Next Generation Space Telescope will investigate the origin of galaxies, stars, and planets, using IR observations with a cooled telescope. Located at L2 or farther from the Earth, it will be protected from near-Earth hazards and will be radiatively cooled to allow background limited observations. The scientific goals were described in the 'HST and Beyond report,' and the proposed NGST approach in 'Visiting a Time When Galaxies Were Young.' It is clear that an 8m class telescope in deep space would be a tremendous tool that would lead to surprising discoveries. It will also require revolutionary changes in technology and management approaches, science budget must be small compared with Hubble Space Telescope. A major challenge is to develop a scientific performance metric that represents a consensus on the importance of various engineering parameters, like accuracy, field of view, sensitivity, spatial and spectral resolution, temperature, vibration, stability, and so forth. Such a metric could be used for choosing instrument or telescope configurations, or for selecting or paying a contractor in the performance based contracting approach now in vogue. Ideally, it could also be used for optimizing the cost of the mission, ensuring that effort is proportionate to benefit. The scientific, mathematical, and social aspects of our approach will be reported.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 August 1998
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 3356, Space Telescopes and Instruments V, (28 August 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.324467
Show Author Affiliations
John C. Mather, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Eric H. Smith, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Hervey S. Stockman, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3356:
Space Telescopes and Instruments V
Pierre Y. Bely; James B. Breckinridge, Editor(s)

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