NASA has approved the project of the SPHEREx spectrophotometric observatory, which will study distant galaxies, the expansion of the universe, and look for biogenic molecules.
According to NASA's plans, the telescope should create a unique spectrometry map of the entire sky in the near-infrared range. Using spectrometry, scientists will split near-infrared light into individual wavelengths or colors, like a prism breaks sunlight into its component colors.
Such research can show what the object is made of, since some chemical elements absorb and emit light of a certain length. The method also allows you to determine the distance of an object to the Earth, so the map will be three-dimensional.
In addition to creating this map, SPHEREx will study the Universe's rapid expansion after the Big Bang, the history of galaxy formation, and look for key biogenic molecules in protoplanetary disks, young stellar objects, and molecular clouds. This way, scientists want to find molecules that life is impossible without – at least Earth-like life.
The SPHEREx telescope launch will take place no earlier than June 2024 and no later than April 2025.