In case you missed the announcement: NASA is contemplating concepts for the next generation optical/ultra-violet space telescope

At Last – ATLAS

Marc Postman and Ken Sembach are leading the concept study teams, looking at 16m telescope, for launch on the Ares heavy to L2.
Optimised for blue light spectroscopy.
STSCI press release

I infer they are contemplating a free-floating occulter if the plan is to have direct detection of terrestrials as part of the science case.



  1. #1 travc
    August 28, 2008

    I’ve always favored the idea of a constellation of satellites (aligned with laser interferometry). We should probably try that for lower wavelengths first though.

  2. #2 JohnD
    August 28, 2008

    Awfully skinny robotic arm holding the whole primary up…

  3. #3 Steinn Sigurdsson
    August 28, 2008

    Ain’t it just.
    I know it is in free fall, but there’s still some torque on it. If they want to point…

  4. #4 Ben
    August 29, 2008

    The arm isn’t holding the primary up, it’s holding the sunshield down.

    I don’t think they want that connection to be stiff. Look at the problems HST had with solar panel “breathing.” But anyway, it’s just a concept. Stuff changes. The other day, I noticed that tacked to a corkboard down the hall from my office is the coversheet of the AO in 1983 for the Shuttle InfraRed Telescope Facility.

  5. #5 Invader Xan
    August 31, 2008

    Optimised for blue light spectroscopy… Very interesting indeed. I wonder exactly what range it covers.

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