Not the Webb telescope, but the Roman Space Telescope should be considered the successor to the Hubble telescope, and on its launching into space, Elon Musk's company will earn huge money.
NASA has entered into an agreement with SpaceX, according to which, between October 2026 and May 2027, the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle will launch a new telescope into space called the Roman Space Telescope. It is named after a scientist who has worked for NASA for many years and is the “mother” of the Hubble Space Telescope, according to Forbes.
The new most powerful Webb space telescope to date did not have time to work in space for another two weeks, like NASA already engaged in preparations for the launch of a new space telescope. Roman Space Telescope should go into space in the fall of 2026, although the launch window will be open until the end of spring 2027.
The launch of the new telescope into space will be provided by the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle. According to preliminary calculations by NASA, the cost of creating a new telescope and sending it into space will be from 3.2 to 3.9 billion dollars. At the same time, Elon Musk's company will earn $ 255 million from the launch of the new telescope.
Roman Space Telescope is named after one of NASA's first female CEOs, Nancy Grace Roman, who died in 2018 . She is called the “mother of Hubble”, since it was Roman who brought to life the concept of the most famous space telescope before the launch of Webb. It was she, along with her colleagues, who worked on the creation of Hubble and convinced NASA and the US Congress that such a telescope is vital.
The Roman Space Telescope, unlike the Webb telescope, is a direct successor to the Hubble telescope. It will have the same main mirror as its predecessor, measuring 2.4 meters. Yes, and it will look very similar.
But the new telescope will have a much better wide-angle camera, allowing it to cover 100 times more of space than Hubble can. Also, the Roman Space Telescope will create images 100 times faster.
The priority tasks of the new telescope will be to obtain information about how the expansion of the Universe occurs, and how matter is distributed in it. With the help of the new observatory, scientists want to understand the essence of the main mysteries of astronomy – dark matter and dark energy.
Another important task of the Roman Space Telescope will be to search for exoplanets that are thousands of light years away from us. The scientists hope that the observatory will be able to discover thousands of new exoplanets, but the main focus will be on finding Earth-like rocky worlds. The telescope will also be able to find more roving exoplanets that travel through space, scientists say, and researchers even believe the figure could be at least 100 billion.
The telescope will use microlensing to detect new, very distant exoplanets. This is what makes the Roman Space Telescope so unique. The microlensing method consists in the fact that the planet can be detected using the light of a star, which will go around the planet and increase its strength. This is the only way to discover worlds that are thousands of light-years away.
As Focus already wrote, the Webb Space Telescope discovered the oldest galaxy in the Universe, which appeared perhaps even earlier than 300 million years after the birth of the universe. So far, scientists assume that this galaxy is definitely at least 13.5 billion years old, but additional studies are required to confirm the findings.