Preparing a “Next Gen” Space Telescope

Images and data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope have expanded our understanding of space, enhanced research opportunities and generated national news since Hubble’s launch in 1990.

Benjamin Rose, Ph.D.
Benjamin Rose, Ph.D.

Now, Benjamin Rose, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, will serve as one of four project leaders for a research team which recently earned $11 million in NASA funding to investigate infrastructure solutions for its next large flagship mission. The Nancy Grace Roman Telescope, due to launch by 2027, will provide significant advances in panorama and processing to examine vast expanses of the universe.

“The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope  has the same depth and spatial resolution as Hubble, but can survey the sky at 1,000 times the rate of speed. So, something that would take 1,000 months in the past would now require just one month of Roman operation,” Rose said. “Its field of view is over 100 times that of Hubble and, unlike past projects, can operate continuously for constant observance.”

For scientists like Rose, the data collected will enable the pursuit of significant cosmic discovery. A distinct strength of the Roman telescope will be data collection on exoplanets — planets beyond our solar system — as well as dark matter and dark energy.

“The Roman telescope will dramatically enhance scientists’ ability to answer significant cosmic questions,” Rose said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to work on the project and to partner with an excellent team of scientists as we prepare the telescope for use.”

Rose will build on previous experience working with the Roman telescope. He comes to Baylor from Duke University, where he spent three years as a research scientist. Prior to his time at Duke, he served as a postdoctoral researcher at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, which partners with NASA on space telescope missions.

“I’m very excited to be a part of the astrophysics concentration in the Baylor faculty,” Rose said. “There’s an amazing group of researchers in both laboratory work and theory. It’s fantastic to come and fit in as a puzzle piece alongside colleagues within the rest of the Department of Physics.”