|WFPC2 resolution||HST10X resolution|
The Space Sciences of Astronomy, Astro-Physics, and Astro-Biology could be advanced by ten years, perhaps more, if a faster, cheaper, better way than an entirely new spacecraft could be found to implement an 8-meter class observatory in space. Why 8 meters? Recent science results such as the Hubble Deep Field (HDF) and other observations from the very large ground-based observatories suggest that to achieve the two prominent Space-Science goals of establishing the era of initial galaxy formation, and imaging and spectroscopy of Earth-like planets requires at least two magnitudes deeper imaging and a factor of six better resolution than anything now in existence or planned for UV/Optical wavelengths. The UVOWG Final Report lists agonizing details of critical science objectives toward these goals, agonizing because we cannot achieve them from the ground even with the four 8-meter mirrors of the VLTI. An 8-meter class space telescope will provide about 2.5 magnitudes deeper imaging and a factor of 6.5 better spatial resolution than the best we have now, HST. This report describes a feasibility study for augmenting HST with 8-meter class optics. The results are very interesting, and surprising.
Study Results Summary
Study Report Table of Contents
SPIE 2000 Presentations
Two companion presentations on this investigation were prepared for the SPIE 2000 conference in Munich. One, by Holland C. Ford, HST to HST10X: A Second Revolution in Space Science1, quantifies the performance of HST10X, compares that performance to the performance of present and planned HST instruments, and gives examples of outstanding science programs that could be undertaken with an enhanced HST. The other presentation, by James H. Crocker, HST10X, The Installation Mission2, emphasizes the preliminary feasibility study results and the Feasibility Reference Mission (FRM) for astronaut installation.
ReferencesSPIE 2000 Pre-prints:
The colliding galaxies images above simulate the improvement of a 10-fold increase in collecting surface area for HST; a gain in spatial information of ~14 times by increasing the resolution by a factor of ~3.7.
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