NASA has selected five proposals submitted to its Explorers Program to conduct focused scientific investigations on neutron stars, black holes and more. Two of the proposals – GUSTO and SPHEREx – include researchers from Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration.
GUSTO (short for Gal/Xgal U/LDB Spectroscopic-Stratospheric Terahertz Observatory), is a balloon-borne observatory designed to map high-frequency radio emissions from our Milky Way galaxy and the Large Magellanic Cloud, that will yield insights into the life cycle of interstellar material.
The GUSTO team is led by Principal Investigator Chris Walker at University of Arizona. ASU is one of the partner institutions.
“GUSTO is a mapping machine that will provide a comprehensive understanding of the inner workings of the Milky Way and Large Magellanic Cloud,” says Chris Groppi, an associate professor in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. He is a co-investigator with GUSTO.
“We hope to gain knowledge of all phases of the stellar life cycle, from the formation of molecular clouds, through star birth and evolution, to the formation of gas clouds and the reinitiation of the cycle,” explains Groppi.
SPHEREx will perform an all-sky near infrared spectral survey to probe the origin of our Universe; explore the origin and evolution of galaxies, and explore whether planets around other stars could harbor life.
James Bock at the California Institute of Technology is the principal investigator. ASU’s Phil Mauskopf, is a collaborator on the science team.
Image: The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), launched in 2012, is an Explorer mission that allows astronomers to study the universe in high energy X-rays. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Written by Nikki Cassis