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A NASA observatory created to answer fundamental issues about dark energy, exoplanets, and infrared astrophysics is the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, previously known as the WFIRST (Wide Field InfraRed Survey Telescope). According to the candidate chosen to lead NASA’s astrophysics division, keeping the organization’s upcoming huge space telescope on track and within budget is his top concern.

Mark Clampin was named the new director of NASA’s astrophysics division on July 14. He will start on August 15 and was announced by NASA on July 14. Paul Hertz, who declared last year that he would be leaving the role after ten years, is succeeded by him. Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator in charge of science at NASA, will continue to work with Hertz as his senior adviser.

At the present time, Clampin serves as the Goddard Space Flight Center’s director of science and exploration. He has worked on missions for the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite while simultaneously serving as the center’s former director of astrophysics.

The agency’s Astrophysics Advisory Committee met on July 21, and Clampin stated that he regarded maintaining the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope’s schedule for an October 2026 launch as a top priority. The following major or “flagship” astrophysics mission after JWST is the 2.4-meter telescope.

The Roman Space Telescope’s continued development, as well as “keeping ahead of the flames” or issues that arise during construction, are what he described as the project’s “number one difficulty.” Hertz had previously stated that keeping Roman on budget and schedule was essential to securing support for upcoming space telescopes, like the series of missions outlined in the Astro2020 decadal survey’s proposal from the previous year. Similar ideas were put out by Clampin.

“People are observing our performance on Roman to see if we can perform well in the future,” he claimed. Roman science is significant, but it’s also crucial that we show that we can manage the construction of this telescope while staying on schedule. My main priority would be that.”

The huge infrared, optical, and ultraviolet space telescope known as IROUV, is now planned as NASA’s next iconic mission after Roman, and is currently under planning. The Great Observatories Mission and Technology Maturation Program (GOMAP), is a new initiative that is starting to develop essential technologies required for the mission and specify science goals.

According to Clampin, he will soon receive a GOMAP briefing. He stated, “One of the key lessons I want to convey to this project is to make absolutely sure that we truly focus on the research goals and don’t let the science focus of this mission spread too much. “That ends up costing a lot of additional costs, which is one of my lessons from Webb,” the author said.

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