Space Telescope Named After Dr. Nancy Grace Roman, NASA’s First Chief of Astronomy

NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is now named the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, after NASA’s first Chief of Astronomy. Credit: NASA

From NASA on May 20, 2020:

NASA is naming its next-generation space telescope currently under development, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), in honor of Nancy Grace Roman, NASA’s first chief astronomer who paved the way for space telescopes focused on the broader universe. The newly-named Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope – or Roman Space Telescope, for short – is set to launch in the mid-2020s. It will investigate long-standing astronomical mysteries, such as the force behind the universe’s expansion, and search for distant planets beyond our solar system.

In this image from the early 1970s, Dr. Roman is shown at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Image Credit: NASA

Nancy Grace Roman (1925-2018), NASA’s first chief astronomer, is known as the “Mother of Hubble.” In a time when women were discouraged from studying math and science, Roman became a research astronomer and was instrumental in taking NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope from an idea to reality and establishing NASA’s program of space-based astronomical observatories.

“Nancy Grace Roman was a leader and advocate whose dedication contributed to NASA seriously pursuing the field of astrophysics and taking it to new heights. Her name deserves a place in the heavens she studied and opened for so many.”
— Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science

The Roman Space Telescope will be a NASA observatory designed to settle essential questions in the areas of dark energy, exoplanets and infrared astrophysics. The telescope has a primary mirror that is 2.4 meters (7.9 feet) in diameter and is the same size as the Hubble Space Telescope’s primary mirror. The Roman Space Telescope is designed to have two instruments, the Wide Field Instrument and a technology demonstration Coronagraph Instrument. The Wide Field Instrument will have a field of view that is 100 times greater than the Hubble infrared instrument, allowing it to capture more of the sky with less observing time. The Coronagraph Instrument will perform high contrast imaging and spectroscopy of individual nearby exoplanets.

Source/read more: NASA Telescope Named For ‘Mother of Hubble’ Nancy Grace Roman | NASA